Divorce if separated but living under the one roof

Divorce When Still Living Under The Same Roof Feature
After separation, some couples remain living together in the same house. This may occur for a number of reasons, including wanting to have both parties remain in the house for the children, financial reasons or health of the parties.  This is referred to as ‘separation under the one roof’.

Eligibility for divorce in Australia

To apply for a divorce in Australia, the Court must be satisfied that your marriage has broken down irretrievably and that there is no reasonable likelihood that you and your former spouse will resume the marriage.

To demonstrate this, you must be separated from your former spouse for 12 months and one day before applying for a divorce.

You can take our simple quiz to check your eligibility for divorce.

Divorce applications when separated but living under the one roof

You may still be eligible to apply for a divorce even if you are separated but still living under the one roof.

However, if you have been living with your former spouse separated under the one roof, within the 12-month period before you apply for divorce, you will be required to provide the Court with additional information in the form of “Affidavit” evidence.

An Affidavit is a written statement that is sworn or affirmed with a person qualified to witness an Affidavit, such as a Justice of the Peace or a lawyer, amongst others. The person giving the evidence in an Affidavit is referred to as the ‘deponent’.

Who needs to complete an Affidavit about separation while living under the one roof?

Joint divorce application

If you are applying for a joint divorce, you and your former spouse must each file a separate Affidavit. If one of the parties to the divorce is unable to file an Affidavit, then an Affidavit must also be filed by an independent person such as a friend, co-worker, or family member. This independent person must know the parties and be aware of the circumstances of the separation under the same roof.

Sole divorce application

If you are applying for a sole divorce, you must file an Affidavit together with an Affidavit of an independent person such as a friend, co-worker, or family member.

What should my Affidavit include?

When completing an Affidavit related to separation from your partner while still living under the one roof, you must prove that there has been a change in the marriage. The change can be gradual or sudden and must show that you and your ex-spouse have separated and the relationship is irretrievable.

Examples of information which can be included in your Affidavit are below. This list is not exhaustive, and not all factors may apply in your case.

  • Changes in sleeping arrangements (eg. sleeping in separate bedrooms);
  • Division of finances (eg. separate bank accounts for the parties);
  • Decline in performing household duties for each other (eg. cooking, cleaning);
  • Reduction in shared activities (eg. meals together) and family outings;
  • Changes to the parenting arrangements since separation;
  • Any notifications of your separation made to family or friends;
  • Information as to why you and your spouse continue to live in the same house after separation, and if there is any intention of changing the situation;
  • If you receive a government benefit, details regarding what government departments have been notified of your separation (eg. Centrelink or Services Australia).

Can I prepare my own family law Affidavit?

Whilst you can prepare your own Affidavit, it must contain sufficient information for the Court to be satisfied that there has been a change in the marriage which demonstrates separation. Without the relevant information, your Court hearing may be adjourned.

We recommend obtaining legal advice and engaging a family lawyer to prepare your Affidavit. Family Law Resolutions are here to help if you are looking for assistance in applying for divorce whilst living separated under the one roof.

How can a family lawyer help?

If you would like to discuss your situation in more detail, you can book a free no obligation phone consultation with one of our lawyers. We assist separated couples across Australia with all aspects of separation and family law.

Booking a consultation

📞         Free call us on 1800 357 000

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