This section provides details of the separation requirements for divorce.

Australian law has the principle of no-fault divorce. This means that a court does not consider why the marriage ended, and you just need to satisfy the Court that you and your spouse have been separated for at least a year, and there is no reasonable chance of resuming married life.

What is separation?

Separation is when you and your partner stop living together in a domestic or marriage-like relationship.

You and your partner do not need to agree for separation to happen. One of you can to make the decision to separate, act on that decision and tell the other person.

You might need to be able to show that you have separated, and when you separated, for example, if you want a divorce. The date of separation may also be relevant in property settlement proceedings.

It is possible to live together in the same home and still be separated. For more information on this, see separation under one roof. You may have to provide additional evidence that you were separated despite continuing to live together.

What do I have to do to be legally separated?

You do not need to do anything in particular for your separation to be legal. You might have to prove that you have separated and the date you separated in the future, for example, in an application for a divorce.

Date of separation

The date of separation is important, because it determines the timeframes of when you can apply for a divorce, and can affect property or parenting orders you might also apply for.

You should record the date you separated from your spouse. This date is important for your Application for Divorce and the time limits to commence property settlement proceedings with the Court.

It is useful to keep a diary of significant events such as changes to living, parenting or financial arrangements.

Moving back together for a period

When working out the year of separation, you can have moved back in together for up to 3 months to try to reconcile. The periods before and after will be considered one continuous period of separation. These periods need to add up to at least 12 months, but the time you spent together won’t be counted towards the time of separation.

Last updated: 16-Apr-2018

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