Together but Apart: Separated Under One Roof

Separation can be a stressful and emotional experience, particularly depending on the living circumstances of each person after the break up.

After separating from your partner, you may decide to move out and live somewhere else, or you may choose to remain separated under one roof. This article will help you understand how your situation might be affected by living with your partner once you have separated.

Being separated under one roof means you and your partner are still living at the same residential address despite no longer being in a relationship.

In 2019, almost 39,000 people were registered with Centrelink as being separated under one roof in Australia, so it’s likely more common than you think.

There are various reasons a couple may wish to do this, for example, if they are waiting to finalise their divorce or financial settlement.

Couples may also wish to save money by remaining in the one house, or live together for the sake of the children.

Whatever the reason you have for being separated under one roof; it is important to seek legal advice so you are well informed on the legal implications this living arrangement may incur.

The legal date of the separation is important if you are going through a divorce, and being separated under one roof may make it difficult to determine the specific date.

In order for a divorce to be granted, a couple must have remained separated for twelve months and one day.

The separation date is also important for de facto couples who have two years from the date of separation to apply for a division of property.

If you have been separated under one roof, you must prove to the court that you have made your partner aware of your intent to remain separated.

You should move out of the bedroom you previously shared, alert your friends and family to your changed circumstances, and undertake certain activities on your own.

It is also important to keep track of any relevant documents or changes you have made to convince the court of your separation.

The court will consider all of these elements, such as changing your finances, holiday arrangements or social activities to determine if you really have remained separated despite living under one roof.

This is known as establishing a ‘consortium vitae’ and is essential to begin the division of assets and liabilities and to finalise the divorce.

If you have just gone through a separation and are feeling stressed or anxious about living under the same roof as your partner, the legal firms listing in the No Lawyers Support Services can help. They can explain the implications of the law to your individual situation and provide expert advice so you can feel confident in your decisions and actions moving forward.



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