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The date of separation could be critical in divorce

You and your spouse are getting divorced. However, it's hard for you to even think of this as the "end" of your marriage.

After all, the relationship ended a year and a half ago. You decided to take a temporary break for a month. That month turned into half a year. That turned into a permanent separation.

That doesn't mean you haven't seen each other. You have. You're still legally married. But you have not lived in the same home, you both have your own bank accounts and you take care of your own affairs.

You need to know the exact date that you separated. It could play a huge role in the divorce. If you have proof of when you split up, that's even better. This could be as simple as text messages or email messages. You may have the lease from your new apartment. This can back up your claim.

Why does it matter? Items acquired while you were apart may not count as marital property. The same is true for debts.

For instance, perhaps you bought a brand new car once you moved out. You and your spouse only had one, but now you needed a second one. You have been making the payments with your own money. You don't want your spouse to claim ownership of that car.

Or perhaps your spouse wasn't financially responsible before the split. It got worse afterward. Now your spouse has $50,000 in debt. You don't want to get stuck with $25,000 in debt when you had nothing to do with it.

Divorce cases can be complicated, especially from the financial side. Make sure you know all of your legal options.

Source: Huffington Post, "A Few Questions to Consider in Divorce Property Division Situations," Brad Reid, accessed Nov. 10, 2017

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