While much of the tabloid debate surrounding when Jon and Kate separated seems focused on whether or not they were faking their relationship the past couple seasons and scamming their viewers; the legal reality is that the date of final separation plays a crucial role in the divorce.

The significance of the date of final separation lies in determining the “marital property”; or the portion of the parties assets that the Court has the power to divide between the parties.

In Pennsylvania, “marital property” means all property acquired by either party during the marriage as well as the increase in value of most nonmarital property during the marriage.  However, marital property does NOT include property acquired after final separation.

This could be significant in this case.  The Gosselins have already released at least two books and Kate has a third book scheduled to be released this fall, not to mention the lucrative speaking engagements the parties participate in.  Any income received from any of the book deals (or speaking engagements) after the date of final separation will not be considered marital property and will belong exclusively to the party who earned the income.

The high profile of Jon and Kate provides the public with a unique opportunity to explore issues that arise in contested divorce cases. Through this ongoing series I will offer comments and analysis of the proceedings and provide insight on how developments in Jon and Kate’s case may occur in other divorces.  I am a Pennsylvania divorce attorney who is not involved in the Jon and Kate matter and the comments I present in this blog series are not case specific but rather intended to provide the public with helpful information on Pennsylvania divorce law.