How the date of separation affects your divorce

Whether they are staying together for the kids or for financial reasons, it is not uncommon for divorcing couples to remain legally married past the date they have decided their marriage is over. This practice can impact what the courts consider to be the date of separation.

How does the date of separation affect your divorce?

What the date of separation is

The Pennsylvania divorce code assumes that the date a couple begins the divorce process is the date of separation. However, the court may consider it the date the couple stops cohabitating.

Why the date of separation is important

Determining the date of separation is important because it may affect which assets the court will divide during the divorce. In some cases, assets acquired by only one spouse after the date of separation may not be marital property that is subject to division.

How to prove when the date of separation occurred

Divorcing spouses do not always agree about when the date of separation occurred. When this happens, the spouses may need to prove the separation date. Judges consider several criteria when determining the date of separation:

  • Date the couple stopped sharing a bed
  • Evidence the couple separated their finances before filing for divorce
  • Actions by either spouse that indicated an end to the marriage
  • When the spouses stopped celebrating holidays together
  • Date the spouses removed the other spouse from their wills
  • Date either spouse started dating someone else

There are many factors that a judge may consider proof that the marriage ended before the date the couple filed for divorce. However, there must be proof for the court to consider these factors.


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