Can we be separated if we are living in the same house?

You can be separated from your spouse even if you are living in the same house.

There is no legal or official document to complete to say you and your spouse are separated.

What is separation?

‘Separation’ is when it is clear to both parties that the relationship is over and you must stop being together as a couple. This can be a joint or single decision.


Sometimes it is not possible to move out of the same house whilst you and your spouse are separated. This can be because of financial considerations, unavailability of any other residence, easing the transition for any children of the marriage, or any other reasons. If this is the case, the court can still classify ‘separation’ although you both still live under the same roof.


It is important to calculate when ‘separation’ begins because, under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), you must have been separated by at least 12 months and 1 day to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.


How can I prove that my spouse and I are separated if we live in the same house?

The court will look at several factors to prove that you and your spouse are validly separated if you live under the same roof.


These include whether you and your spouse have:

  • Stopped wearing your wedding rings
  • Ceased intimate and sexual activity
  • Separated bank accounts and finances
  • No longer attend social activities together
  • Act in a way so that it is obvious to family, friends, employers, neighbours, coworkers and outsiders otherwise that the relationship is over
  • Live in separate bedrooms
  • Do not engage in shared social activities within the home such as watching television together or hosting friends together
  • Do not perform household services for one another such as prepare meals, wash clothes, etc