A parties “net family property” is determined based on property owned at the date of separation and property owned on the date of marriage. Since the date of marriage is constant, this means that the date of separation can be crucial in a high net worth divorce.
If both spouses cannot agree on a date then a judge will determine the date of separation (the day on which there was no reasonable prospect of reconciliation) based on the facts of the case.
Both spouses do not have to want to separate for there to be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. The date of separation will be determined by the judge based on the evidence proving that on the day in question, at least one spouse no longer believed that there was any reasonable prospect of reconciliation