Separation under the one roof – Is it possible?
We are seeing an increase in parties who have separated and decide, at least in the short-term to remain living in the same home, although not as partners. The main motivations for parties to live in such manner, are usually, for the sake of the children, in an effort to delay the impact of the separation upon the children and also finances and the attempt of the parties to conserve cash and maintain one household rather than two, particularly where a property settlement is pending.
Whilst there is no formal declaration required to confirm when parties have separated, it is important to make your intention clear to your former partner that whilst you are continuing to live under the one roof, that you are indeed separated.
Where there is a disagreement as to when parties separated, the following are some factors that are considered to determine separation:
- How parties hold themselves out to the community ie – whether they continue to go out socially together as a couple or a family and whether their family and friends are aware of the separation;
- Parties sleeping in different bedrooms;
- Parties not attending to the same level of care of the other party in terms of rendering household duties;
- Parties maintaining separate finances.
The above factors provide some assistance in determining whether parties have been living separated under the one roof, however, that is not to say that there is a tick the box approach to making this assessment, each relationship is different.
If you are married and applying for a Divorce, it is necessary for you to file an Affidavit to accompany your Divorce Application to confirm that whilst you were living under the one roof, you were indeed separated, such Affidavit drawing a comparison between when you lived together as a couple to now.
An important consideration, which we will always discuss with our Clients is the risk factors involved in continuing to live under the one roof. When tensions rise in separation, it may not be ideal to be living in the same home and such living arrangements may fuel domestic violence. It is so important for parties continuing to live under the one roof that they are aware of the warning signs and what they need to do to diffuse a potential situation. As such, it is essential that you give yourself some space, make sure that you have your own area to retreat in the house, so you are not living in each other’s pockets, get outside when you can to have a break and if tensions get too high, try to stay with a family member or friend for a night or two to diffuse the situation.
If you have any queries about separation or family law generally, please call one of our Gold Coast or Logan Family Lawyers for free family law advice on (07) 5679 8016.