Does The Date When You And Your Spouse Separate Matter?
Many Floridians believe that they can become legally separated. However, unlike many other states, Florida does not recognize legal separation. However, the date when you and your spouse separated still matters in your divorce case.
The date when you separated can become a critical factor when dividing marital property in an equitable manner. Contact our experienced divorce attorney at Arwani Law Firm to find out how the date of your separation affects your divorce.
When Does the Date of Separation Begin?
As mentioned earlier, the date of your separation from your spouse will affect the equitable distribution award in your divorce case. Under Florida’s equitable distribution law, the couple’s property is divided into marital and separate property. Then, marital property is disturbed to the spouses in an equitable and fair manner.
The date of separation can affect the distribution of the marital property, and so is the date of valuation of the couple’s assets. Since Florida law does not recognize legal separation, courts interpret the term “separation” differently. In many cases, separation begins the day when the spouses start living in separate residences or sleeping in separate rooms.
In some cases, the court may determine that separation did not begin until after the date of filing a petition for divorce. If you are not sure what is considered the date of separation in your particular case, consult with an attorney to help you determine the date when the separation began.
Why the Date of Separation Matters in Your Divorce Case
Even though Florida law does not recognize the term “legal separation,” the separation date matters because it will be one of the factors considered by the court when dividing the couple’s property into marital and separate assets.
Fla. Stat. § 61.075 provides that the judge will determine the date for calculating the value of assets and the classification of assets as deemed “just and equitable” under the given circumstances. In fact, it is not uncommon for courts to assign different dates when valuing different assets.
But why do Florida courts consider the date of separation before distributing marital property upon divorce? For example, if your spouse acquired a new debt after the date of your separation, the debt will not be considered shared even though it was technically acquired during the marriage. As a result, the judge will most likely determine the newly acquired debt to be your spouse’s separate property.
It is in your best interests to speak with a knowledgeable attorney to identify the proper date of separation in your case. Your attorney can argue for certain dates of separation to ensure the most favorable outcome when dividing property in your divorce case. An attorney will gather the necessary evidence to support evidence of your date of separation to protect your rights during the divorce.
Schedule a case review with our Orlando divorce lawyer at Arwani Law Firm to discuss your particular situation and determine the proper date of separation in your case. Call 407-254-0060 to receive a consultation today.