Governor Brown Signs Moorlach 'Date of Separation' Bill

Legislation Will Support California Families During Transition
Monday, July 25, 2016


Sen. Moorlach presenting SB 1255 in Judiciary Committee   |  SB 1255 Debate on Assembly Floor, June 27, 2016
(Watch full hearing & floor debate HERE)

Senate Bill 1255, authored by Senator Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa), was signed into law by Governor Brown today. This legislation will amend the California Family Code to allow for a couple to be considered “living separate and apart” while still living under the same roof for purposes of establishing a date of separation as a precursor of divorce.

In the recent case of In Re Marriage of Davis (2015), the California Supreme Court ruled that a couple must have separate residences in order to legally be considered “living separate and apart.” This ruling removed judicial discretion in sensitive situations where couples are trying to establish a date of separation through the divorce process. SB 1255 makes an important change for couples who have various reasons for living under the same roof while going through a divorce, whether they are financial or revolve around discreet family issues.

“The 2015 ruling makes divorce proceedings even more trying on families than it already is,” said Senator Moorlach. “It means a divorcing couple cannot live in the same house to reduce costs or co-parent their children during divorce proceedings if they want to keep their finances separate."

With the signing of SB 1255, date of separation is defined as the date that a complete and final break in the marital relationship has occurred, as evidenced by the spouse’s expression of his or her intent to end the marriage and conduct that is consistent with that intent. Courts will be required to take into account all relevant evidence in determining the date of separation, and living under the same roof will become merely a factor, and not a bar, in the court’s analysis.

"SB 1255 will assist families as they enter a highly transitional time, both relationally and financially within the family unit. I’ve been amazed at how many constituents have contacted me on this subject and am pleased that Governor Brown agrees that this supportive change is necessary," added Moorlach.

SB1255 received widespread support from organizations including: Family Law Section of the California State Bar (FLEXCOM), Family Law Section of the Beverly Hills Bar Association (BHBA), and the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Southern California Chapter.