Sometimes when couples separate, they make a decision to live together in the same house. This can be for many reasons including the financial burden of maintaining two households.
Being separated under the one roof may not be an issue until one or both parties consider making an application for divorce. In Australia couples are required to be separated for a period of 12 months before a Court will grant a divorce. It may be harder to convince a Court that you and your spouse have been separated while you’re living under the same roof. Satisfying the Court that you have been separated for 12 months can be done in three ways:
1. The parties have been living separately and apart for the previous 12 months before the application is made and both parties are aware that the relationship has ended.
2. Both parties have resided in the same residence for the last 12 months but are both aware that the relationship has ended.
3. The parties have been separated under the one roof for part of the 12 month period required by the Court.
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.
You will also need to file an Affidavit from an independent person who is aware that you have separated and can attest to you and your spouse leading separate lives.
As you can see the requirements for divorce and the period of separation required may not always be straight forward.
These circumstances require expert advice so please get in touch with us. We’re here when you need us.