- Separated couples may choose to live together due to financial, convenience, co-parenting, lack of alternative housing, emotional attachment, or cultural and religious reasons.
- It’s possible to be legally separated while living together. However, you may need to prove that you and your partner have already separated and representing to other and to third parties that this is the case.
- Evidence of separation, such as affidavits, witness statements, financial records, utility bills, photos or videos, and other evidence, may be required to get a divorce while living together.
- Seeking legal advice before filing for divorce or making financial decisions is recommended to ensure that the requirements are met.
For many people, when they end a relationship they move out and this signifies the beginning of their separation. However, this is not always the way it goes. There are separated couples who choose to live under one roof due to financial constraints, convenience, or even cultural and social aspects or religious reasons.
But no matter what the reason is, separation and living under one roof also has its financial and legal effects on the lives of a separated couple, especially in certain aspects like government payments and divorce proceedings.
In this piece, we’re going to help you understand the legal side of things if you’re still living with your former partner. But first, let’s understand why couples live together even after separation.
6 Reasons Why Separation Under One Roof Happens
Living together after separation is not the best option for everyone. It can be challenging emotionally and practically and may not be suitable for those who need more distance or space from their ex-partner.
However, there are several common reasons why separated couples may choose to continue living together, including:
1. Financial reasons
Living together can be a more affordable option than living separately, especially if one or both partners cannot afford to move out on their own. Sharing expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, and groceries can help both partners save money.
If the couple has children, living together can make it easier to co-parent and provide stability for the children. It may also allow for more flexible care arrangements.
Living in the same home together can be more convenient than finding separate residences, especially if the couple has shared pets or household responsibilities. It can also be easier to divide household chores and responsibilities when living in the same space.
4. Lack of alternative housing
In some cases, one or both partners may not have a viable alternative housing option. This could be due to financial constraints, lack of availability of suitable housing, personal or family crisis or other factors.
5. Emotional attachment
Even after separating, some couples may still have a strong emotional attachment to one another. Living together may allow them to maintain that connection while they work through their issues and decide what their future holds.
6. Cultural or religious reasons
In some cultures or religions, it may be frowned upon or forbidden to separate or divorce. Living together under these circumstances may be seen as a compromise or a way to maintain appearances.
Can you be legally separated and live together?
Technically, there are no legal requirements or certifications for separation. So yes, you can be separated and still be living under one roof.
However, you may need to alert certain institutions like Centrelink (Services Australia), banks, insurance companies, or the court system (if you are applying for divorce) and prove to them that you and your partner have already separated even though you’re still living together. This can be proven in a variety of ways.
Will your living arrangement affect your divorce proceedings?
They could, however it is possible to get a divorce in Australia while still living together, as the legal requirement for divorce is that the parties have been separated for at least 12 months.
It is important to understand that while it’s common to live separately when you separate from your partner, a separation is much more than just living in separate residences – there must be a clear intention to end the relationship from one party and evidence of separation.
How to prove separation under one roof for divorce
If you and your spouse are still living separated under one roof during the separation period, you will need to provide evidence to the court that you have been living separately under one roof, meaning that you have not been living together as a married couple. This can include evidence such as:
You and your former partner can prepare written statements called affidavits that describe relationship details, the living arrangements and other factors to confirm that separation has occurred. These affidavits must be sworn or affirmed before an authorised person, such as a lawyer or justice of the peace.
You can ask other people who know about your living arrangements or sexual relationship to provide statements to the court. This could include family members, friends, neighbours, or professionals such as doctors or counsellors.
If you and your former partner have separate finances, you can provide bank accounts, statements, bills, and other financial records to demonstrate that you are living separately.
You can provide utility bills or other documents that show that you have separate accounts for gas, electricity, water, and other utilities.
Photos or videos
You can provide photos or videos that show your separate living arrangements, such as separate bedrooms or living areas.
You can provide any other evidence that confirms separation, such as emails, text messages, or social media posts that demonstrate that you have separated.
It is recommended that you seek legal advice before filing for divorce to ensure that you meet the requirements and that the divorce proceedings will not be impacted by your living arrangement.
We can guide you on how to prove separation under one roof and any other legal considerations that may apply in your specific circumstances.
When to seek legal help
Ideally, the moment that you and your partner decide to have separate lives, under one roof or not, is the best time to approach a family lawyer so you would know your options.
We can also advise you on what living and financial arrangements that you must maintain so you can prove to the court that you’re already separated and living together.
For expert and compassionate legal advice, contact us today!