Are you separated under one roof? If you and your partner are contemplating a divorce, you have also most likely considered living separately during the process.
Although it is a requirement for you and your partner to be separated for a minimum of 12 months prior to filing an Application for Divorce, there is no requirement for the parties to reside separately after the difficult decision to separate has been made.
It is extremely common for parties who have separated but living together under the same roof, even if it is only for a short period of time. This is known as being ‘separated under one roof’.
This blog will explain why it is important to prove that you and your partner are separated dispute living under one roof.
Even in the most amicable situations separation is difficult for both parties, particularly if there are children of the relationship.
There are several reasons as to why separated parties remain living together in the short-term including:
Maintaining Stability for children – If there are children from the marriage, particularly younger children, a parent moving out of the former matrimonial home might be rather difficult for the children and or both parents.
The adjustment period and the distribution of parents separating may all be too much for the children and for that reason, many separated parties continue to reside together to provide some stability in the interim period.
In many cases this assists the parties in reaching a resolution about the future parenting responsibilities for each parent and making a decision with respect to where the children will live and how much time the children will spend with each parent;
Financial reasons – Whilst the parties are figuring out the financial aspect of the separation, it is common that one or neither of the parties can afford to pay rent or a mortgage on their own, and for that reason, many couples continue living together until a property settlement has occurred; (learn more about divorce and property settlement) and
Convenience – A family home is often chosen because it’s close to work, school, family, and friends and for this reason, it’s convenient for parties to live together and maintain their normal routine until final arrangements can be made.
If you and your partner decide that it is best for your circumstances to continue to live together under the same roof, apart from the 12-month separation period, when submitting your Application for Divorce you will need to provide the Court an Affidavit which deposes a change in your marriage, whether this is sudden or gradual, and which evidenced the fact that while you and your partner remained living together, you and your spouse have still in fact, separated.
The Court may request you file an Affidavit of a third party (or parties) to provide evidence that you and your partner have separated.
It is important that your Affidavit sets out why you continued to live together following your separation and evidence that although a physical separation has not occurred, there has been a breakdown in the relationship, and it is unlikely that your relationship will resume.
This can include:
Changes to the financial aspects of your relationship – For example, if any or all joint accounts have been closed, you and your partner begin opening and using separate bank accounts and a change in the responsibility of payment of liabilities.
Changes to the nature of the household – This includes setting out the facts that you may no longer share a bedroom, cook separate meals or complete household chores separate from one another.
Changes to the social aspects – This includes providing evidence as to if or when you and your partner told family and friends of the relationship breakdown and you were no longer treat as a couple;
The absence of a sexual relationship; and
If or what government departments, you or your partner have advised of your separation.
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