Separation – “Under the One Roof”
There is often a misconception that separation can only occur on the date that a partner decides to move out of the home, but in many instances this is not the case. In these days of Global Financial Crisis, it is more common for couples to separate but still continue to live together in the same household. Such a situation may arise for a variety of reasons including, assisting with the care of any children involved, both parties may not want to move out of the home if it is jointly owned or it may be more economically viable to continue living together for the time being. This raises the question – How then does the Court determine whether there is separation in the same household?
What is Separation?
- The development of an intention to separate – the intention need not be mutual;
- An unconditional and clear communication of that intention by one partner to the other;
- An action by one or the other partner upon the forming of the intention to separate.
On this issue, the court has noted that “… the evidence should examine and contrast the state of the marital relationship before and after the alleged separation.”
One House – Two Households
- There has been a change in sleeping arrangements;
- Decline in performing household duties for each other;
- Separate finances, such as separate bank accounts;
- Reduced family and social outings together;
- Any family members and friends that can confirm they are aware separation has occurred (i.e. that the two spouses are living separate lives).