California’s New Date of Separation Statute

Date of Separation in California

On July 25, 2016, California Governor Jerry Brown approved SB 1255, which adds Section 70 to the state’s Family Code.

SB 1255 will go into effect in California law on Jan. 1, 2017, and adds the following language to date of separation rulings:

  • Date of separation is defined as the date when a complete and final break in a martial relationship has occurred, which can be proven by the following circumstances:
    • A spouse expressed to his or her spouse that he or she intends to end the marriage
    • A spouse’s conduct is consistent with his or her intent to end the marriage
  • The court will consider all relevant evidence when determining a date of separation

How Does SB 1255 Change the Court’s Rulings on Divorce Cases?

On Jan. 20, 2015, the Supreme Court’s ruling on In re: Marriage of Davis added language about couples living under a separate roof as part of the process for determining a valid date of separation.

SB 1255 eliminates that requirement, reversing the date of separation laws, effective Jan. 1, 2017, to its original wording and definition that existed prior to Jan. 20, 2015.