Sheryl and Xavier Davis married in 1993, but after six years and two children, their union became frayed — they stopped sleeping together, cut back on their social activities and opened separate savings accounts. In mid-2006, Sheryl Davis told her husband their marriage was over, took him off their credit card, gave him a ledger of household expenses to be paid jointly.
She then took a job in Los Angeles, where she spent three to five nights a week and in December 2008 filed for divorce. But the couple continued to live in their home in Castro Valley until Sheryl Davis moved out in July 2011.
On Tuesday, the California Supreme Court heard arguments from both sides on how to tell when a married couple starts to live “separate and apart,” the date when each spouse can start keeping his or her own income.
Under the state’s community-property law, spouses must share their income and their jointly acquired property until they separate. If the Davises first lived “separate and apart” in 2011, Xavier Davis would be entitled to a share of his wife’s income for the previous five years, a period in which she made more money than he did.
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