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Are you thinking about separation?

A married couple may decide to separate or live apart at any time, without authorisation from the court. However, when the couple announces their intent to live apart to a court, then they are seeking a legal separation. Since a legal separation is a judicial procedure, there are issues that must be decided by a judge. For example, issues such as custody of the children, support of the children and the partner, are usually decided in legal separations. Nonetheless, it is important to note that all these things can be reviewed or retracted if the couple seeks a divorce in the future.

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Separation

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MAIN DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LEGAL SEPARATION AND DIVORCE

The main difference between these two judicial procedures is that in a legal separation, both parties are legally bound to comply with the terms of the court order but are still considered a married couple because they do not have a divorce decree. Furthermore, a legal separation is often ordered without any delay on the part of the court because the consequences of a separation are not permanent.

For this reason, it is important to mention that separations are often seen as an option for couples who no longer want to live together, but who want to keep certain benefits of marriage, such as tax benefits, Social Security benefits, or retirement pensions, and those couples who for religious reasons they oppose divorce, as well as for couples that haven’t made the decision of applying for a divorce.

In most cases, a legal separation is considered the judicial procedure prior to a divorce. Couples must know that legal separation is a requirement to apply for a divorce since they ask former couples to be legally separated for a period of 12 months at least before requesting a divorce.

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REQUESTING A LEGAL SEPARATION

This is an important judicial procedure that can have an immediate impact on your life and can influence divorce proceedings if they were to take place in the future. For this reason, it is important to consult with a family lawyer before requesting a legal separation. Your lawyer will help you file a petition or legal separation in court that will include how you would like to handle issues related to finances and custody of children during their separation. If your partner has no objections, then the Court will probably grant the separation.

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LIVING TOGETHER WHILE LEGALLY SEPARATED

Many people ask themselves if it is possible to live together while they are legally separated or if the law does not allow this. The answer is that it is possible since the state recognises many marriages depend on each other financially and may require some time to recover economic independency. This process is called “Separation under the same roof” where it is understood the couple is separated although they still live in the same place.

People who decide to stay separated while living under the same room may be requested some extra information when submitting their Application for Divorce to Court, some of these evidences are:

  • A witness or witnesses that can tell the court you have been living separated. These witnesses can be friends, family members, neighbours or anyone with a close relationship to the former couple that can serve as witness.
  • Separate bank accounts and financial statements that demonstrate they do not depend on each other to cover expenses of daily life.
  • Court may request proof of the former couple sleeping in separate bedrooms.
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WHAT DOCUMENTS SHOULD I TAKE TO MY LAWYER IF I’M INTERESTED IN A LEGAL SEPARATION?

No documents are required for a legal separation, unless the couple wants to reach a property settlement, in that case you may need to bring a copy of the following documents:

  • A list of your assets, whether shared with your spouse or owned by you alone.
  • Financial Statements of the last couple of years, including taxation.
  • Any financial agreements done in the past.

Any other documents will be requested after your first visit. Remember that if you do not have a copy of these you do not need to postpone your appointment, schedule your visit so we can provide you with further guidance on what you need to reach your objectives in this judicial procedure.

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DO I NEED LEGAL ADVICE FOR A LEGAL SEPARATION?

Legal separations are a straightforward process when you let institutions such as the Child Support Agency, Centrelink and Medicare know you are no longer living as a couple with you spouse. You may need legal advice if you are going through one of more of the following situations:

  • If you want to prevent your ex-partner from spending savings after separation or prevent money losses and property being taken.
  • If you are considering applying to court because you want to force your ex-partner to leave your house.
  • If you have experienced domestic violence and consider you need protection from the law and force the other person to leave the house.
  • If you are doubtful about how your separation will affect child support, property, joint bank accounts and parenting arrangements.

Here at Melbourne Family Lawyers we will provide you with unmatched legal representation during the entire separation process and will help you complete the process in the most cost-efficient way possible.

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At Melbourne Family Lawyers Co, we will provide you with top legal representation so you are able to spend time with them, prevent improvised relocations, and avoid financial affections due to property settlements and goods distribution.