How do you know when you are separated?
Separation is an interesting concept.
There is no definition of separation for married (or de-facto) couples. However, the case law tells us that separation occurs when one or both spouses form the intention to sever the relationship and they act on that intention, for example by moving out.
Physical separation is not a necessary requirement for separation. It is possible to be separated while living under the same roof. On the other hand, just because you are living in separate homes or even in different countries, does not necessarily mean you are separated.
In order to determine whether the relationship has broken down, it is generally necessary to compare the state of the relationship before and after separation to see what has changed. For example, the absence of a sexual relationship alone is not an indication of separation.
It is important to establish the date of separation because it is amongst other things, relevant to calculating time limits when you may apply for a divorce, or if you are in a de-facto relationship, when you must commence proceedings for property settlement or partner maintenance.