Ending a marriage comes with a lot of legal questions. “Where will you live?” often becomes one of the biggest challenges in a divorce, as affordable housing in California can be difficult to find. However, a new California law aims to give divorcing couples another option: staying right where they are.
Starting January 1, 2017, a new California law will change how the ending date of a marriage is defined. This law will allow couples to divide their assets based on the day that one or both spouses state their intention to end the marriage, and not the date on which one or both of them vacate their shared home.
The current law requires divorcing couples to continue to share their joint property and income until they are determined to be living “separate and apart.” As recently as 2015, the California Supreme Court ruled in a case called Marriage of Davis that a divorcing couple cannot be living in the same household and be considered separate and apart, even if they have divided their home in a manner to minimize physical contact, or if one of the spouses spends a significant amount of time in another home.1
Adding Practicality to Divorce Law
Unfortunately, the Davis ruling presented a practical problem for many divorcing couples that cannot yet afford separate homes. Some couples also decide that while the marriage should end, they want to try to live in the same home to maintain a sense of normal life for their children. Under this new law, those divorcing couples who choose to remain in their home now have the option of declaring their finances to be separate as of the date that one or both of them decide to end the marriage.
The new law, written by state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), won bipartisan support and near-unanimous votes in the state legislature before it was sent to Governor Jerry Brown, who recently signed the bill into law. The law also has the support of the State Bar’s Family Law section, which urged passage in a letter to the legislature. The Family Law Section of the State Bar declared the law a victory that ensures “nobody is forced to either continue in a bad marriage, or face being forced out of the residence.”2
Contact the Family Law Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich for Help
Divorce is never easy. You will have a lot of decisions to make, including where you will live and how best to manage your finances. If you decide that your marriage needs to come to an end, you should speak with a caring and experienced attorney who can help you make those decisions. At Wallin & Klarich, our more than 35 years of experience working with clients who are divorcing has taught us how difficult this can be, and that is why we are dedicated to helping our clients obtain the best possible outcome in their cases.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Orange County, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is a skilled Wallin & Klarich family law attorney available near you no matter where you work or live.
Call us today at (888) 749-7428 for a free, no obligation phone consultation. We will be there when you call.
1. In re Marriage of Davis, Docket No. S215050, 7/20/2015 href=”#ref1″>↩
2. Letter Executive Committee of the Family Law Section of the State Bar to Honorable John Moorlach, April 25, 2016.href=”#ref1″>↩