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Yes. You are still eligible to apply for divorce if you have separated from your spouse or de facto partner but are still living in the same home due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and subsequent restrictions. This would be considered as ‘separated under one roof’.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent restrictions there were many reasons why separated couples would stay living together even for a few days, weeks, months or longer, when their relationship had ended.
Financial strain on one partner moving out, joint ownership of the family home or not wanting to disrupt children’s routines are often common reasons for many separated couples to continue to live under the one roof after separation.
In today’s current environment we anticipate there will be a surge of couples that have decided to separate however, are continuing to live under the one roof due to the Coronavirus outbreak and the follow on consequences to our social, financial and day-today lives that have been disrupted.
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If you are a separated couple that is living or lived in the same home during part or all of the required minimum 12 month separation period you will need to provide additional details to the Court before they can apply for a divorce.
Please note, if you are separated under the one roof but have not reached the minimum 12 months separation period to apply for divorce you are still able to proceed and finalise both parenting and property settlement arrangements. Fortunately is not necessary for a divorce to be finalised before negotiating on parenting and property agreements.
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As a separated couple living under the one roof you will need to provide an affidavit when you apply for divorce.
An affidavit is a written statement made by one of the parties in the relationship, or by an independent person who can provide evidence about the breakdown of the relationship. For an affidavit to be valid it must be authorised by a lawyer or a Justice of the Peace.
If the parties are making a joint application each must file a separate affidavit.
The affidavit needs to present evidence and facts that prove the marriage has ended. This will include:
It is also necessary to provide good reasons why the separated parties continued to live under the one roof after commencing their separation.
Please feel free to contact us if you seek advice regarding an Application for Divorce or being ‘Separated Under One Roof’ due to COVID-19 or other reasons.
Note: This is general information advice only and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters, please contact us on 03 9620 0088 or email [email protected]