Is It Mandatory To Move Out When Separated From Your Spouse?

1 June 2020
 Categories: Law, Blog


In Australia, you cannot initiate divorce proceedings until you have been separated from your spouse for at least a year. Thus, the first step to dissolving your marriage would be cutting marital ties with your partner. A misconception that some people have is that they will need to move out of the marital home for their separation to be in effect but this is untrue. You may be surprised to learn that many couples maintain their living arrangements during a separation!

Understandably, you could be wondering why one would choose to live in the same house as the person they are divorcing. Moreover, you could be curious as to how you can prove a separation if indeed your living arrangements have not changed. This piece touches on what you should know about separation and living under the same roof with your spouse.

Why would you opt to live with your spouse once you have chosen to end the marriage?

One of the most common reasons why you may find it easier to reside in the same house as your spouse even while actively looking to dissolve your union is for financial stability. A relocation, whether down the street or to another town, is costly. Not only do you have to budget for moving house but you also have to finance a new lease, new utilities and more. If you already have an established family budget with shared fiscal responsibilities, it is easier to stay under the same roof and avoid new expenses.

Granted, not all couples are fiscally reliant on each other to some degree. If this is the case and you can afford to take on the mortgage of the family home or move to another residence, you may choose to live with your spouse during the separation to avoid disrupting the lives of your kids, more so if they are quite young. Residing in the matrimonial home gives you and your spouse the chance to ease the kids into the divorce during the separation period. It also presents the chance to determine how parental responsibilities will be shared by having a trial run on who will take up what responsibilities.

How can you prove separation when residing in the matrimonial home?

When applying for a divorce, the court also requires you to file an affidavit that states you and your former spouse have been separated even while living in the same house. This affidavit will outline pieces of evidence that prove there has been a breakdown in your union and that you and your spouse did not reconcile during the separation period. The affidavit should have proof of changes to your financial situation, for example closing joint bank accounts. You can also prove separation by confirming that you no longer live as husband and wife, for instance, by sleeping in different bedrooms.

To learn more about this and other family law issues, talk to a lawyer in your area.