The date of separation is the date when spouses separate with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.
The decision to separate is unilateral (meaning consent or agreement from both spouses is not necessary).
A spouse can communicate the decision to separate through words and/or action and sometimes notice is given through counsel or through Court proceedings. This applies to both married and common law spouses and marks the earliest possible date from which support may be payable, although later commencement dates for support can also be agreed upon or ordered.
The date of separation is also very important to the issue of property known as equalization, which only applies to married spouses.
If the date of separation is not agreed upon by the spouses, the court may determine it based on the facts of the case.
Often, when parties disagree about the date of separation and the Court is required to make a determination, multiple sets of Financial Statements are required, disclosure must be provided and potentially costly valuations and expert reports are necessary. All of this increases costs for both parties, as well as the time and complexity of the case.
It is also possible to have a determination of the date of separation as a preliminary issue; however, this does not happen in every case. It is far more efficient and cost effective for parties to reach an agreement on the date of separation if possible; however, that may be more difficult where there is a significant financial impact flowing from the spouses’ respective positions on the date of separation.
If you have any questions or concerns around your own separation, please contact us. Our goal is to ensure that your rights are protected while assisting you through this difficult time.
At DKGC LLP, we fight for our clients and their rights. It’s not just our duty, it’s also our privilege.