When a relationship has come to its end, financial disagreements, emotional strain, and legal troubles are all too common. This is especially the case if you are still living together. Those troubles can often become even worse when you’re separated but living under one roof.

To help give you clarity on the legality of this matter, we’ve put together the following guide to issues you might face while separated living under one roof. It is often very important to get legal advice before you proceed in decision-making.

At Times Lawyers, we understand that each situation is different, and we have years of experience in dealing with couples that are separated but are still living together. Contact us and get advice today.

Separation under one roof


What does separation under the same roof mean?

Separation under one roof happens when a husband and wife separate, but continue to live in the same home. This is most often due to financial reasons, i.e. one ex-partner does not have the financial means to look after themself outside of the home.

This period can be for a few days, a few months, or even a few years.

In order for the parties to be “separated under one roof”, they must have been actually separated. That means that they both agree and acknowledge that their relationship has broken down.

A couple who had a fight and slept in separate rooms for a few nights, but have not considered or discussed ‘breaking up’, is not separation under one roof.


What does separation under one roof mean for you?

If you and your ex-partner are separated under one roof, it means that you will have to provide extra information to the Court as proof of the separation, when divorce is applied.

We will draft an affidavit for you, to prove that there has been a change in the marriage. You will need to explain that you and your ex-partner have separated and explain the change in sleeping arrangements, a division of expenses and finances, and a drop in shared activities, social events, and family gatherings. 

Additionally, if you have children, you will also have to explain the change in living arrangements between you, your ex-partner, and your children.


How are bills divided under separation?

Since you’re separated under one roof, chances are that your rates, electricity bill, and other utilities would continue to be paid via the joint bank account. Or, it might be the case that one party has been paying for these bills, but is now wanting to share these bills after separation.

Sometimes, depending on your situation, it might be a good idea to separate your finances with your ex-partner. Even during the separation under the same roof stage.

For example, one way to do it is to continue paying the house utilities using the joint account, but agreeing with your ex-partner for both of you to transfer a fixed amount of money into your individual accounts. This way, each party’s expenses are clear and separable. Of course, this is only one way, and may not suit your circumstance. You should ask your separation lawyer for advice in this regard.


Separation under one roof: Centrelink payments

If you receive government payments, the payments that you receive might change, since you are separated under the same roof.

The payment rates might now be different because the rates depend on whether you’re single or separated. As a “single” (separated) person, it is not uncommon that you will be entitled to a higher amount of Centrelink payment.

Speak with us at Times Lawyers if you need help assessing what you are entitled to, and what your rights are before you make any major financial decisions.


Can I get a divorce while still living together?

Yes, you can still get a divorce while still living together. Just so long as you can prove your separation under one roof.

We will have to provide evidence on your behalf to the Court. This is in order to prove your separation under the same roof status. Questions that the Court will want to ask are:

  • Have you slept with your ex-partner in separate rooms?
  • Have you been attending social gatherings with your ex-partner?
  • Why didn’t any party move out?
  • Have you told your family and friends about the breakup?
  • What arrangements have you made for your children?
  • Have you performed household work and duties for each other?
  • Have you made arrangements to divide your finances and expenses?

If you are able to provide us with the above proof, contact our Brisbane Divorce Lawyer, and we will be able to get a divorce for you, even if you’re still living together but separated under one roof.

To read more about being separated under one roof, especially in regards to the evidence you might need, exactly how the courts will assess your case, and the time limits involved, click here.

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