Family Law in California, Living Separate and Apart Prior to Divorce
Under California state law, the earnings and property a couple attain during their marriage is community property. During a divorce community property is split 50/50. The California Supreme Court very recently overruled lower courts by ruling that in divorce law couples shall not be considered to be “living separate and apart” until they begin residing in separate residences.
The case which instigated the review of the issue involved a couple who continued to reside together for five years after the date when they stopped ‘living as a married couple’ (e.g. took their children on separate vacations). Because of the court’s ruling, the wife was legally required to share a portion of the money she earned for the five years preceding the date when they began living in separate residences.
The moral of this case is if you want to ensure that you keep all of your financial gains once you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce you need to stop residing together as soon as possible. Of course, this may involve a stalemate over who is going to move out of your common abode which is something for which a family law attorney can advise you. If you are ready to legally separate from your spouse, Albrecht & Albrecht family law attorneys are available for a free consultation to help you plan a course of action that will protect your future earnings and other acquired assets.