Living Together in the Same Home Is Not Living Separately and Apart

We hear of stories where spouses live together in the same home until the economy improves, or for the sake of the children who are still in school and under 18 years old. It is important to keep in mind the new California Supreme Court ruling In re: Marriage of Davis, which held that a couple may not be living separate and apart when they live together in the same home for the purposes of interpreting California Family Code Section 771(a).

The possible impact to a high wage earner who delays filing for divorce while living together with a supported spouse who continues to stay at home (although the marriage appears separate - separate bedrooms, no discussion and no physical intimacy) includes a potential spousal support award for a longer duration of time and wages which will be treated by the Court as community property.

Proving that you are actually separated can be very difficult in this circumstance. Here are some things that you can do if you have no other option, however:

  • Utilize separate bedrooms
  • Don’t engage in sexual intimacy
  • Use separate and secure computers
  • Manage your own finances

In some cases, it is helpful to establish separate lives to then build proof that you were actually living separate and apart.

Indifferent spouses beware. Contact us at your earliest convenience if you are dealing with a situation of this nature.

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