Whether you are married or you are in a de facto relationship the date or approximate date you and your ex-partner separated can become very important in divorce and property settlement cases.

This is mainly due to the time limits that apply in family law proceedings. For example, married couples must be separated for at least 12 months before they can obtain a divorce and de facto couples must make an application to the court to resolve their financial matters within 2 years of the date they separate from their partner.

Sydney’s expert family lawyers, the team at Owen Hodge Lawyers, explain how separation is legally defined and the factors courts will consider when a separation date is in dispute.

For family law purposes separation is defined as the bringing to an end of your marriage or de facto relationship.

If there is a dispute between you and your ex-partner about when you separated (which is most often the case when parties continue to live in the same house after they separate), then the court will look at various factors to make a decision about this, and some of these factors are as follows;

  1. Whether you and your partner continued to sleep in the same bedroom or began sleeping in separate bedrooms after the alleged date of separation;
  2. If a sexual relationship continued between you after the alleged date of separation;
  3. Whether you continued to intermingle your finances, for example by operating joint bank accounts after the alleged date of separation;
  4. If one or both of you continued to perform domestic tasks for the other after the alleged date of separation including cooking, washing etc
  5. If and when you made your separation public, for example did you tell other people you were separated and did you stop socially together after the alleged date of separation.
  6. Did either of you sign any formal documents for example Centrelink or ATO paperwork that declared you had separated on a particular date.
  7. Any text messages, emails or other correspondence between you and your ex partner which makes reference to the separation or end of the relationship, and the date of that correspondence.

If may be a good idea to send your ex partner a text message or email on the date you separate making it clear that the relationship has come to an end. If you keep a copy of the email or message then this is very good evidence about the date of separation if there is a dispute down the track about this.

If you would like some further advice or you have further questions please contact our Sydney-based divorce lawyers on 1800 770 780 to have a chat and make an appointment with one of our experienced family law solicitors. We look forward to hearing from you.

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