Hi Shinuki! Hmm, those are good points. I'll certainly take that into consideration! I like the idea of splitting off and such.
As for your questions, it would be maybe a few days to a week after the Change. However as the RP progresses I may move it along by doing a time-skip of a couple months or so at a time. But in the beginning, it will be soon after the event.
And very little knowledge will be required. Most information on wherever we end up, I will do all the research on and then post the basics on here for everyone to read. But really, I won't be expecting you to recite the Colorado State song backwards and blindfolded while doing a crossword based on all of their local government representatives