The date when a couple decides to separate is not just an important financial and emotional milestone. According to Forbes contributor Jeff Landers, the end of a marriage is a necessary detail in the court system.
“The courts are not interested in establishing a timeline for social or emotional reasons,” Landers explained. “Instead, the courts need to establish a formal Date of Separation (DOS) in order to determine various property interests and to establish valuation dates for certain assets.”
Deciding on this date can be difficult, so it is important for couples going through a divorce to keep careful records. It is also imperative that they consult their state’s specific laws regarding DOS.
In some regions, this date is defined as the moment an ex-spouse physically moves out of the shared place of residence. In other states, DOS is characterized by the date divorce papers were filed or the date when a spouse informed the other about his or her intention to divorce.
Many times, the date of separation can be very different than the day a divorce is finalized. In the case of television star Laurie Metcalf, her husband filed divorce papers on September 12, 2011, but he listed the date of separation as November 2008, according to TV Guide.
Couples who are looking to divorce in South Carolina must first live apart before spousal support can be sought. While this law has been on the books for many years, a recent ruling by the state’s Supreme Court proves that there is no exception for spouses without incomes, The Associated Press reports.
The ruling came after a judge in family court dismissed Eileen Theisen’s request for alimony because, while divorced, she still lived under the same roof with her ex-husband. The South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s ruling.
According to the South Carolina Legislature, the state’s law prohibits divorce except in cases of adultery, desertion for a period of one year, physical cruelty, habitual drunkenness or after the husband and wife have lived apart without cohabitation for a period of one year.
The court’s decision offers some clarity to an increasingly hazy issue, as many people have kept living together after a divorce due to the difficult economy. However, the ruling may not help stay-at-home caregivers like Theisen, according to a family law attorney, because they have no income stream to allow them to set up a separate household.
The number of divorce filings increased by 12 percent in New York since a no-fault separation system was adopted, according to the New York Post.
Last October, the state implemented a no-fault divorce system, meaning couples no longer had to identify a reason for their splits. Previously, spouses had to prove in court that there were valid reasons for dissolving the marriage, but this information was often an embarrassing glimpse into their personal lives.
From October 2010 until May 2011, the state saw 37,015 divorces filed, up from 33,160 during the same period a year earlier.
A divorce lawyer likened the new divorce process to a common nuisance – going to the dentist.
“It’s still going to the dentist,” he told the publication. “But now you go to a painless dentist. There’s a certain percentage of people who do it now that wouldn’t have before.”
Divorces are not just more convenient in New York. They are also less expensive, as lawyers spend less time mulling over the details of a break-up to determine if a divorce is valid, reports the news provider.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, there are more than 2 million marriages in the U.S. each year, and the divorce rate is 3.4 per 1,000 total population.