4. Figure out the date you separated

How do I legally separate from my partner?
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4. Figure out the date you separated

The exact day that you and your partner separate is called the date of separation. This date is important because it affects things like:

  • Divorce: one way of getting a divorce is by being separated for a year. The date you separate is the day you start counting this one year period.
  • Dividing property: Married couples have a right to a share in the value of property they got during their marriage. You're not entitled to a share in the value of property after the date you separate unless the property is jointly owned.

You may not be sure what your date of separation is. Or maybe you and your partner can't agree on the date you separated.

To figure out the date you separated, you can look at when you started to:

  • live in separate homes or sleep separately if you still live in the same home
  • separate your money and finances
  • do things on your own, such as having meals, going on vacations, or celebrating holidays apart

You can also look at documents like:

  • letters, emails, or messages where you or your partner talk about separating
  • documents that say you're not living as a couple. For example, if your income tax return says your marital status is "separated".

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Reviewed: July 31, 2017

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