When it comes to divorce, the date the divorce will be finalized on is what most divorcing couples focus on. However, the date of separation in many cases is the more important date. The date of separation is used to determine the equalization of property, support payments will usually be calculated from this date and a divorce may be obtained one year after your separation.

How Is The Date Of Separation Determined?

According to Ontario family law, the date of separation occurs when both spouses physically separate from one another or when one of the parties has expressed to the other their intent to end the marriage and follows up with an act or acts that are consistent with the intent to end the marriage. Actions such as sleeping in separate rooms, living in separate homes, sharing with friends or family that they are separated, attending social events separately and separating finances amongst other actions can all be used as evidence for determining the date of separation. All of these factors do not need to be actioned to prove that you have been separated, circumstances differ from one case to another.

If the date of separation is unclear or both parties disagree on the date, it is advised to consult with a family law professional. In many cases, the exact date may not impact your bottom line and conceding the date of separation is much simpler than arguing over something that has little to no impact.

Why Does the Date of Separation Matter?

  • Characterization of assets
    The date of separation plays a crucial role in the equitable distribution of the wealth the parties accumulated during their marriage. Once this date is determined, all earnings or property acquired after separation are considered the separate property of the earning spouse.
    In cases where the separation date is unclear, issues may arise if one spouse makes a significant business transaction or if their personal assets grow significantly. This can be in the form of a bonus, or an increase in value of their holdings, etc. In these cases, the date of separation can have a large impact on the equalization of property.
  • Liability for debts
    The separation date also helps the courts to distribute liability for debts. Debts acquired before the separation date may be shared among both spouses, while those amassed after the separation date are the responsibility of the incurring spouse.
  • Support Payments
    Support payments in most cases are calculated from the date of separation. This applies to both child support and spousal support.
  • Finalizing your Divorce
    The most popular reason for a divorce to be granted is separation. After a couple has been separated for a time period of one year, they are able to get a divorce. There are reasons where you can be granted a divorce without having to wait a year, such as cruelty or adultery, however a one-year separation is fairly simple and doesn’t require pointing fingers making it the most popular reason to divorce.

Divorce cases can be complicated, especially in situations where the date of separation is unclear. At AGS Law we offer comprehensive family law services in Barrie and South Eastern Ontario. If you have questions about separation or any aspects regarding divorce, please give us a call today at 705-735-0003 and let us help you.