Being separated under one roof

By | September 21st, 2020|

One of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the property market has cooled off.  Falling house prices have had various effects on different households, however one such effect is that there is more financial difficulty for separating parties to move out of the home and refinance. Some parties are finding that moving out prior to the finalisation of property settlement is cost prohibitive and therefore they living together despite being separated.  Other reasons that people may can continue living together in a relationship, other than financial, include:

  • Being there to support the children during a transitional period.
  • It may just be that there are lot of things going on and there is simply no time to make drastic changes despite the fact parties may have agreed to separate.

Following separation, if you have been living apart for the last 12 months and each party is aware that the relationship has ended, the Court will normally accept this as evidence of separation and grant a Divorce.  However, the Court will require further evidence of separation if you and your partner have been living under the one roof.  You will be required to file a supporting Affidavit which provides the court with evidence that you and your ex- partner have been separated for the required 12 month period.

There are a number of characteristics that indicate that two people have separated when they are still living together.  In order to prove that there has been a breakdown of the relationship and no reasonable likelihood that the relationship will resume, despite sharing a residence, you will need to demonstrate:

  • That there has been a change to the nature of the household, i.e. that you no longer share a bedroom, cook meals for one another, or complete household chores for one another.
  • That there has been a change of financial aspects of the relationship, i.e. that you no longer work from a joint account and you do not financially support one another.
  • The absence of a sexual relationship.
  • The absence of social aspects of the relationship, i.e. you do not hold yourself out in public to be in a couple.
  • Changes in the nature of your commitment to one another, i.e. there has been a withdrawal of intimacy, companionship, and support to the other party.
  • Finally, whether you have updated your details with Centrelink and other government departments.

It is important to ensure that both you and your partner are on the same page if you do agree to separate but remain living together so that there isn’t confusion as to the date of separation, which can also have an effect on your property settlement outcome.

If you would like to discuss your divorce and the circumstances surrounding separation under the one roof, contact us on 02 9211 9976.

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