California Court Discusses Determining the Date of Separation in Divorce Cases

In the state of California, without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement dictating otherwise, any property or income obtained while a couple is married is deemed marital property. Thus, when a couple makes the decision to end their marriage, it becomes vital to pinpoint the date they separated since any earnings obtained after that point are regarded as separate property. Recently, a California divorce case explained the factors evaluated in establishing when the separation happened. If you are considering ending your marriage, you should consult a Bay Area divorce attorney to evaluate your options for protecting your interests.

Case Background

It is alleged that the parties wed in 2007. A decade later, the husband filed for divorce. Disputes then arose over the date of separation. The wife claimed the separation occurred four months after the wedding, but the husband argued they only separated when he initiated the divorce. The case was tried before a judge, who court ultimately agreed with the husband’s perspective. The wife filed an appeal, contending the trial court neglected to consider her intentions and conduct towards the marriage, given the abuse she experienced from her husband.

Determining the Date of Separation in Divorce Cases

On appeal, the Court rejected adopt the wife’s reasoning and upheld the trial court’s decision. The Court explained that when a couple separated is a factual issue that must be established by a preponderance of the evidence. Upon review of a trial court’s ruling, the courts evaluate whether there is considerable evidence to support it, considering all reasonable and legitimate inferences.

Further, if conflicting evidence arises during a trial, the court is obligated to adopt the trial court’s assessment of the facts. To put it another way, courts lack the authority to resolve conflicts or to evaluate the weight of evidence weight or witness credibility on appeal.

In the subject case, the wife conceded the usual review standard of substantial evidence for determining the separation date. She asserted, however, that de novo review was appropriate in this case because of the necessity for the court’s interpretation of specific statutes. The court disagreed, pointing out that the wife’s arguments did not concern statutory interpretation but instead challenged the trial court’s assessment of the evidence itself. Further, the court found substantial evidence supporting the trial court’s determination of the separation date. Consequently, the trial Court’s decision was affirmed.

Meet with a Seasoned California Family Law Attorney

Terminating a marriage not only has emotional implications but also significant financial consequences. If you have questions about how a divorce proceeding may impact your rights, it is in your best interest to seek advice from an attorney. The seasoned family law attorneys of Bay Area Family Law Center can advise you of your rights and help you to pursue the best legal result possible under the facts of your case. You can reach us via our online form or by calling us at 925-258-2020 to set up a conference.  This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site, you understand that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your State.

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