Family Court of Western Australia

Separation under one roof

If you and your spouse separate but continue to live in the same home, this is known as separation under one roof. It may be for a few weeks, months or years following your separation.

If you and your spouse were separated under one roof during part or all of the required 12 month separation period, you need to provide extra information to the Court. You need this information before you can apply for a divorce. If you do not provide enough information the Court may adjourn your application for further hearing at a later date.

If you were separated under one roof for a period, but were then separated and living apart for 12 months, you may not need to provide extra information to the Court. Provide full details of your separation in your divorce application.

Providing extra information

If separation under one roof applies to your situation, you need to support your divorce application with an affidavit.

An affidavit is a written statement prepared by a party or witness. You must swear or affirm the affidavit before an authorised witness.

If you and your spouse are applying together, you must each file a separate affidavit. You should also file an affidavit by an independent person such as a family member, friend or neighbour.

If you are applying for a divorce on your own, you must file an affidavit yourself. You should also file an affidavit by an independent witness. The Court will usually require the arrangements to be corroborated by the independent witness. The independent witness needs to file an affidavit and attend the hearing in case further evidence is needed.

For more information about affidavits, see the Affidavit page.

What to include in the affidavit

Examples of the changes your affidavit should explain include:

  • why you continued to live in the same home following separation and what intention, if any, you have of changing the situation
  • living arrangements you made for any child of the marriage under 18 years during the time you were living under one roof
  • what government departments you have advised of your separation if you receive a government benefit. For example, Centrelink or the Department of Human Services (Child Support). If correspondence has been received from these departments about your separation, attach a copy to your affidavit.

If you are applying on your own, you should not refer to the intention of your spouse unless you can provide further information as to how you knew what your spouse’s intention was at the time. You should be prepared to provide the court with information, if it is required, about what happened or what was said on the date of separation to show that one or both of you intended to end the marriage.

The affidavit should also include the date of separation. The date is not always clear. It can be a gradual process, and your affidavit should give evidence of the changes, gradual or sudden, that show you and your spouse have separated. For example, it can describe:

  • changes in sleeping arrangements
  • a reduction in shared activities or family outings
  • a decline in performing household duties for each other such as cooking, washing cleaning
  • division of finances, such as separate bank accounts
  • whether the parties were financially dependent on one another
  • whether you have notified family and friends of your separation
  • any other evidence that the marriage has broken down.

More information

Visit the divorce page for information on the other requirements for a divorce application.

Last updated: 16-Apr-2018

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