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What is the significance of separation?

In family law, separation carries significant legal implications, signifying the start of a transformative journey for couples. Beyond simply living apart, it involves navigating emotional, financial, and practical considerations.

At its essence, legal separation is a formal decision by a couple to lead separate lives, distinct from physical separation. This entails ceasing cohabitation and disengaging from shared aspects of a marital or de facto relationship, whether by residing separately or living independently under the same roof.

From a legal standpoint, the critical element of separation lies in the intention to terminate the relationship, acknowledging the shift towards independence where each partner assumes individual responsibilities.

However, separation’s legal complexities extend beyond physical separation alone.

Under the Family Law Act, separation is defined as the period during which one or both partners believe the relationship has ended, communicated explicitly or implicitly to the other party. Importantly, agreement from both parties is not required to establish separation.

Legal separation also impacts matters such as property division, parenting arrangements, and spousal maintenance. It triggers specific timeframes under the law:

  • Married (or divorced) couples have 12 months from the date of divorce to finalize financial matters.
  • De facto couples have two years from the date of separation to resolve financial issues.

In summary, legal separation signifies more than physical distance; it reflects the deliberate decision to end a marital or de facto relationship and pursue independent lives. Understanding these legal intricacies is essential for individuals navigating family law complexities, ensuring a smoother transition to the next phase of their lives.

If you are considering separatio, we invite you to contact Freedom Family Law on 07 5409 8000 for a complimentary initial consultation with one of our experienced Family Lawyers.

You can also book your free consultation online.


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