Jim Belushi’s wife, Jennifer Sloan, commenced an Application for Divorce earlier this week in Los Angeles. Belushi and Sloan married in 1998 and have been married for approximately 20 years. The couple has two children together, an 18 year old daughter named Jamison and a 15 year old son named Jared.
TMZ reports that the Sloan’s Application does not include a date of separation.
How to Determining a Separation Date and Why it is Important
The date of separation, also known as the valuation date, is an important date to determine for several reasons. Firstly, it starts the clock running on the one-year period for which you need to be separated before you may obtain a legal divorce. Secondly, your property, for the purposes of equalization, is valued as of the date of separation.
With respect to determining the date of separation, sometimes it is quite clear when the separation occurs – there is an abrupt event that ends the marriage. For instance, one spouse may leave the home, or one spouse may move to a different bedroom. However, often a marriage gradually deteriorates over time, and it is not very clear when the marriage ended. The determination of the exact valuation date may make a significant difference in how property is divided in a divorce.
How is the exact date of separation determined? In family law terms, the valuation date is the day that the parties separated without any reasonable prospect that they would resume cohabitation. A reasonable prospect must be more than just wishful thinking. As well, “rare moments of friendliness or civility,” such as a separated couple going out to dinner together, do not mean that the spouses are not separated.
When deciding what the valuation date is, a Court will look at all the facts of your and your divorcing spouse’s relationship. No one factor is determinative. Some factors include:
- physical separation (for instance, living in separate bedrooms)
- absence of sexual relations
- discussion of family problems
- communication between the spouses
- joint social activities
- meal pattern
- performance of household tasks
- method in which spouses filed income tax returns
- when a spouse makes plans for his assets as a separated person
- communications about separation
- consultation with a lawyer
- absence of joint vacations
- absence of gifts between spouses
- absence of joint activities at home together (TV watching, tea in bed, etc.)
- absence of visiting each other’s relatives
The date of the parties’ separation marks the end of the marriage and it is one of the most important dates in the divorce process. It is critical for separating couples to determine their date of separation, however it is not always simple for separating couples to figure out. Ideally, separating parties are able to agree to the date of separation, or negotiate same, on their own, or with the help of their lawyers.