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Divorcing? Why you need to determine your date of separation

There are many reasons why you should know the date you separate for your divorce. It starts the clock on many things, like the number of days you've lived separately or when you should stop being held responsible for your spouse's purchases.

Income you earn and assets you acquire during your marriage are generally considered marital property. However, as soon as you have a date of separation, any further income or property you get is separate. That means that if you get a paycheck the day after you separate, your spouse shouldn't have the right to any portion of it.

Of course, the date of separation can cause issues. For instance, if your spouse gets quarterly commission checks, you might not want to separate until just after they receive the next one. If you don't, you'll miss out on that shared asset. Similarly, if your spouse signs a contract for a new job before the date of separation, you should have a right to a portion of those wages.

The date of separation also is the date when you can start valuating certain assets. For some assets, the trial date is when they'll be valued.

In either case, you can see why it's important to take the time to note the date of separation if you don't want to be responsible for the debts your spouse accrues or want to make sure you get a portion of a payout. Your date of separation is extremely important. Get proof through time stamps, contracts or other documents to guarantee that the right date is used.

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