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How is the date of Separation Determined?

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  • How is the date of Separation Determined?

    We know in the world of Law and Order, a lot is tied up to the exact date and time of certain events. For a breakup of relationships (either marriage or common-law), how is the date of separation determined? Oftentimes this is not a clearly cut thing, especially for those couples who continue to live under the same roof before one finds another place and moves out.

    This can be an issue because this can affect the length of the marriage (for Spousal support) and the value of certain assets etc. (house/property value, stock, RRSP).

    There was a case in Ontario where a guy won a big lottery, and he didn’t cash it until the last minute while in the meantime fighting for a divorce with his wife. The key was that if the marriage was still valid when he bought the lottery ticket, his ex would be entitled to part of it. I forgot how they had it resolved but I think they settled it and at his wife got the $$$.

    Before there is a signed Separation agreement, how will the court determine the date? If certain items are at stake, one side may push for a later date (maybe for a longer time so as to get more SS), but the other side may say, hey, we have already lived in separate rooms…

    Can one side just unilaterally declare that the relationship is over and a new life of separation has officially started? What event can be used to justify this, like removing her/him from the insurance, serving his/her legal paper?

    Any thoughts on this?

  • #2
    No longer living together is the usual. But sleeping in separate rooms, and longer appearing as a 'couple' socially also works. Probably taking steps towards financial separation is good - though I can't see that is necessary, because it can be a long process.


    • #3
      It used to be considered the date one spouse moved out, but the date can vary. We used the date my ex gave me the first separation agreement for my consideration, which was just after Christmas. We lived under the same roof for another eight months until the abuse got physical (he punched me really hard a couple of times in the abdomen, so I left with the kids, on advice of police). The first two agreements weren't signed.


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