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Our family lawyers understand the profound importance of any legal issue concerning your family. We will help you set the right goals from the beginning of your case and then construct a strategy to reach these goals. 

What does the term ‘separation’ mean?

The term separation in family law matters means the decision to end a relationship.  A separation does not need to be a mutual decision and can be determined by one party.

What happens if we still live together after separation?

Sometimes people will determine the date of separation as the date that one or both parties to the relationship move out of the home that they were living in prior to separation. However, this is not always the case. In some circumstances, parties will separate and continue to live separately under the same roof for various reasons including access to financial resources and/or inability to rehouse and/or parenting arrangements.

What happens if we don’t agree about the date of separation?

Where it is unclear what date two people have separated (for instance where there is no evidence of separation by way of SMS message, email, or relocation by a party from a residence) the court may be required to determine the date of separation. Some of the factors that would be considered by the Court include the following:

  • Whether the parties continued to share a room or sleep together after the date of separation (including being intimate)
  • Whether or not family and friends were aware that the parties have separated
  • Whether or not the parties continued to intermingle their finances
  • Whether or not either or both parties made any application to vary their financial circumstances by way of an application to Centrelink
  • Whether the parties continued to assist in the day to day lives of the other including homemaking duties for example washing and cleaning for the other.

When is the date of separation relevant?

Generally the date of separation of a couple is relevant to property matters and Applications for Divorce.

In property settlement matters, the date of separation may determine whether a party is able to initiate property settlement proceedings, as for de facto couples, they must be commenced within 2 years from separation. Furthermore, the way the court examines the contributions made by each party differs depending on the date of separation.

To apply for a divorce, the court needs to confirm that the parties have been separated for at least 12 months before filing their Application.

If you need advice, call our family law team today. We can help you plan the best course for your case and situation. We will discuss your goals and contingencies and will come up with the right path for you.


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