megan-fox-brian-austin-green“Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green really do seem to be doing their best to remain amicable exes” says Eonline.  But they need to be careful. Why?

It is important to co-parent.  A healthy relationship between the parents is absolutely necessary for that to happen. It also helps, when trying to settle case to remain amicable. Divorce is not a war and does not need to be fought like one. So why be careful?

Under California law, the date of separation starts when two people are not cohabitating. See This is a bright line rule. However, that may not be the only test.

What if a person moves out, (meeting the prerequisites for creating a date of separation) and then starts dating the wife?

Having dinner with the family, going on vacations, paying household bills, filing joint taxes, and attending social and business events may reset the date of separation. See In Re Marriage of Baragry (1977) 73 Cal.App.3d 444.

In Baragry, the husband was an eye physician who had moved out of the house four years before filing for divorce. The court found the date of separation to be the date that he filed the petition for divorce and not four years earlier because, although he had moved out and was engaged in sexual relations with another woman, among other things he still ate dinner with his wife almost every night, took his wife and daughters on vacations, paid the household bills, filed joint tax returns, attended social and business events with his wife, and even brought his laundry home twice a month for his wife to wash and iron. The court used an “outsiders’ viewpoint” to determine the parties’ date of separation.

The date of separation is an important date. It determines when the community property ends, and separate property begins. It also determines the length of marriage. A marriage over ten years is considered to be a marriage of long term duration. Such a long term marriage may make spousal support go on forever!

So, Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green really do need to be careful about what they do. I applaud them for doing what they are doing, because divorce is not war and they need to focus on their children. But they can go, inadvertently, too far during the divorce proceedings and reset a very important date. This could have huge financial consequences for them!

My advise to Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green? Be nice. Be civil. Focus on the kids. Be smart, and if you are getting together more than to exchange the kids, like a vacation trip, have your attorneys draft a stipulation and order so you do not reset the date of separation.

In other words, don’t be penny-wise to be pound foolish!!!