Establishing when separation occurred can be hard to know, especially when you are living under the same roof. But it is important. For example:
- In order to apply for divorce, you must be able to prove to the Court that you have been separated from your spouse for at least 12 months prior to making your application. If there is a dispute about the date of separation, this can create issues in your application. If you were living separated under the same roof at any time during the 12 months prior to making your application, then the Court will require you to provide extra information about the way you live now, compared to how you lived when you were together, so that they can be satisfied that you were separated for at least the previous 12 months.
- In a de facto (unmarried parties) property or spousal maintenance application, if you make an application to the Court, it must be done within 2 years from the date of separation. If one party says that separation was more than 2 years ago, this can cause problems.
- Sometimes the length of a relationship can be important in a property matter, which can differ if there is a dispute about when you separated.
If you need to show that separation occurred at a particular time, then you should consider:
- Changes in sleeping arrangements and intimacy.
- Any reduction in shared activities or family outings.
- Any decline in performing household duties for each other.
- Registration with Centrelink for benefits as a single person.
- Any division of finances e.g. separate bank accounts.
- Any other matters that show the marriage has broken down. For example, if you have notified family and friends of your separation.
There are very unique challenges you may face when living separately under the same roof. However, the decision to remain living under the same roof may be inevitable due to restricted finances, the desire to parent children in the family home or other various individual circumstances.
The information above is general and every situation is different. This blog is not intended to replace independent legal advice tailored to your situation. We strongly encourage anyone considering separation, with intentions to continue to live under the same roof as their partner, to get in touch with us so that we can discuss your individual circumstances.