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The court won’t accept your divorce case for filing unless the Petition contains a date of last separation. The court considers a date of last separation as proof that your marriage/partnership has broken down irretrievably.

The date of last separation is the date when you last cohabited as husband and wife. Some interpret this date to be simply the last occurrence of sex. Others interpret this concept more widely and hold that it is the date on which you decided that the marriage/partnership had broken down and that you would file for divorce or legal separation.

Bear in mind that the date of last separation does not have to be a date of last physical separation, i.e. when one or both of you moved out of the family home, but it often is that date. Importantly, you do not have to be physically separated or resident in separate households to file for divorce. Many divorcing couples remain under the same roof during, and sometimes right up to the end of, the divorce process.

However, there must still be a date of last separation even if you are not physically separated.

The date of last separation is an important date. It has ramifications for division of property, debt and income. If you do not know and cannot determine yourself what this date is, it is well worthwhile having a lawyer consultation just to determine the date of last separation before proceeding. It is that important.