Separation

image of separationSeparation is when you end a relationship. You can separate even if you stay living in the same house as your ex-partner. See separation under one roof.

If you are experiencing domestic and family violence and thinking about separating, you can get legal adviceACTNSWNTQldSATasVicWA about this. If you want to leave and are worried about your safety, see staying safe.

 

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You don’t need your ex-partner’s agreement or permission to separate.

Usually separation starts when one person tells the other person they consider the relationship to be over and then stops behaving like a couple.

You do not have to apply to a court or fill in form to make your separation official. You can:

  • write down the day you separated or ask a friend to do this
  • let organisations know you have separated. See this Australia Post checklist

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You and your ex-partner can stay living together but still be separated. This is called ‘separation under one roof’.

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If you separate, you may want to think about things like:

If you are married, you can apply for a divorce 12 months after you separated.

Once you get a divorce, there are time-limits to start court action for a property settlement or spousal maintenance.

If you were in a de facto relationship there are time-limits to start court action for a property settlement or de facto maintenance.

If you have children and are on a pension or benefit, you need to apply for child support within 13 weeks of separating.

If you are on Centrelink, it can affect the type of payment you receive. Let Centrelink know within 14 days of separating. Call 13 24 68.

If you are on a temporary visa, it may affect your visa – get immigration adviceACTNSWNTQldSATasVicWA.

Separating may affect your taxes.

Separating may change who gets the things you own if you die. Think about updating your Will if you have one, or making one if you don’t. Also update your Superannuation nominations.

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© Copyright National Legal Aid 2019. All rights reserved. All illustrations by Frances Cannon.

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