Two former partners or spouses are considered to be separated when they are leading separate lives. There are no formal procedures to show you are separated, no forms to fill in and nobody you have to notify (except maybe Centrelink).
The separation date is going to be important, even if you and your ex remain friendly and any legal issues are resolved easily. For most people, that date is obvious. Sometimes however, the particular date is not agreed, or not obvious. Talk to us if you have any questions.
You can be separated while living in the same house, but it must be shown that the relationship has irretrievably broken down. You are not usually considered to have separated if you share activities such as sleeping together, shopping and eating meals together, entertaining friends, going out together with your children, or sharing bank accounts.
If you live separately under one roof with your ex and legal steps need to be taken, say, for a divorce, you should make sure that others know about it from the beginning of the separation, as the court normally requires evidence from a friend or relative confirming you are separated. There must also be good reasons why you remained together in the same house, such as caring for children or not having enough money to move out.
If you have only recently separated, please read “We’re separating – What do I do now”? for some tips and pointers and feel free to contact one of our friendly lawyers to discuss your matter.