One of the most important determinations in divorce cases in California is when the date of separation occurred. The date of separation is important because income before the date of separation is community property and income after the date is the separate property of each spouse. This is important in making decisions about property division and support levels.

The California Supreme Court recently decided that the minimum requirement for establishing a date of separation is separate residences. The in re Marriage of Sheryl Jones Davis and Keith Xavier Davis court determined that the legislature intended for there to be a requirement for the “spouses to be living in separate residences in order for their earnings and accumulations to be their separate property.”