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Marriages Can Not Become Divorces until One Spouse Moves Out in This State
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California divorce definition

Summary: California Supreme Court ruled that until one spouse is no longer living in the house, a marriage is still seen as a marriage in the eyes of the legal system.

Until one spouse moves out of the house, married couples are still considered legally married according to a California Supreme Court ruling. They rejected the argument that other factors should be included in the definition when dealing with property and income division for divorce cases.


The Court called it a “bright-line rule.” They declared that until the couple establishes separate residences after the breakup of the marriage so that income and property are no longer shared, that minimum requirement will continue to define the marriage as in effect.

The judges were seeking a way to make a more clearly defined explanation that would help the parties and their attorneys know what was expected and to make things fair. The ruling came in response to a case involving a Castro Valley couple. The couple had been separated for several years but still lived under the same roof. Not until the woman moved out five years later that the judge called them separated.

The court stated “living in separate residence is an indispensable threshold requirement for a finding that spouses are living ‘separate and apart’ for purposes of dividing property.” With this definition, the parties are entitled to sharing income and property.

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Stephanie Finelli represented the husband, Xavier Davis.

Lilia Duchrow represented the wife, Sheryl Davis.




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