IN RE the MARRIAGE OF SHOU CHAN LEE AND SHU YING LIN. Shou Chan Lee, Respondent,
Shu Ying Lin, Appellant.
Cal.Rptr.3d 386] Santa Clara County Superior Court, Superior
Court No. 6-14-FL-013138, Hon. Beth A. R. McGowen, Judge.
for Appellant Shu Ying Lin: Kathleen O’Reilly, O’Reilly Law
for Respondent Shou Chan Lee: Michael Thomas Bonetto, San
Jose, Crystal Riggins, Hoge, Fenton, Jones & Appel, Inc.
this marital dissolution action, appellant challenges the
trial court’s determination that the parties legally
separated in May 2012 when respondent moved out of [254
Cal.Rptr.3d 387] the family residence. Finding no error, we
26 years of marriage, Shou Chan (Tony) Lee (Husband) moved
out of the family residence in May 2012. He rented an
apartment in a neighboring city, and occasionally interacted
with Shu Ying (Sharon) Lin (Wife) with whom he maintained an
amicable relationship. Husband filed a dissolution petition
in August 2014.
parties litigated their date of separation. Husband
maintained the date was in May 2012 when he left the family
home, and Wife contended the legal separation occurred when
Husband filed for dissolution 27 months later. After a
two-day hearing in 2017 in which both parties testified, the
court found that legal separation occurred when Husband moved
from the family home in May 2012. Ruling from the bench and
tracking the language of Family Code section 70 defining
"date of separation," the court found
"Husband’s intention to end the marriage occurred on May
21, 2012 and his actions since then have been consistent with
that." The court found Husband’s intent to end the
marriage was clearly expressed by leasing an apartment, his
intent was reinforced by relinquishing the key to the family
home and refusing to give Wife a key to the apartment, and
his post-move conduct was consistent with that intent. The
court found the parties’ limited interactions after Husband’s
move did not show an intent to reconcile and did not
"overcome any clear act of ending the marriage by moving
trial court memorialized its ruling about the date of
separation in a written order. It certified the order for
immediate review, and this court granted Wife’s motion to
appeal the interlocutory decision. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule
Code section 771 classifies property acquired after the date
of separation as the acquiring spouse’s separate property.
(Undesignated statutory references are to ...