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May 27, 2020
Services: Family Law

Am I legally separated if I continue to reside with my spouse?

When you meet with a Family Law lawyer to discuss your recent separation, one of the first questions they will ask is, “When did you separate?” 

Your lawyer is asking this question so that they can provide advice on property-related issues. They need to know the date you got married and your “date of separation” so they can calculate the value of all property accumulated during your marriage. 

What if I don’t know the exact date of my separation?

Many people are not certain when they separated and are initially unable to provide a specific date. Often, they are continuing to reside with their spouse under the same roof. 

There are many reasons why people do not immediately start living in separate residences. Often, people continue to cohabit for financial reasons or to ease the transition into a parenting plan for the children.

It is important to understand that continuing to live with your spouse does not mean that you cannot be separated from them. Your date of separation is the date that you and your spouse decided that you no longer wanted to be together. Both parties must be aware of this end date and often people recall a specific argument or discussion in which it is clearly communicated that the relationship has come to an end. That is the date that you are “legally separated”, even though there is not yet an Agreement or Court Order in place.

Family law lawyers often have clients who ask if the date of separation is the date that they knew the relationship was not going to work or the date that an affair started. If your spouse is entirely unaware that the relationship is ending, you are not separated. Both parties need to have an appreciation of the end; however, this does not mean that a refusal to accept a separation means that one has not occurred. 

If you have recently separated and need legal advice, the Family Law Lawyers at SV Law are a team of experienced professionals who would be happy to discuss your specific situation. Contact us for assistance and information.


Related Team

Nora Sleeth

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.