Divorce and Separation Period


Whether or not married parties have separated and when that has occurred is often clear and undisputed. In many marriages, there will be a clear event that signals that the marriage has broken down. There are however cases where the date of separation may be contested.

For the purposes of obtaining a divorce, separation requires one or both parties to form an intention to end their marriage and then to act on that intention or otherwise act as if the relationship is at an end. If one spouse considers the relationship over, they must communicate that attitude to the other spouse.

Whilst physical separation is often a feature of separation, being physically separated is not in and of itself sufficient to demonstrate separation for the purpose of the divorce application. An express intention to bring the marriage to an end is also required.

What Happens If Spouses Reconcile And Then Separate Again?

The legislation recognises that married parties may separate, attempt to reconcile and then separate again. The 12 month separation requirement does not reset in these circumstances if the parties have resumed cohabitation on one occasion only for less than three months. If parties reconcile on more than one occasion, or live together for more than three months before they again separate, then they would need to separate for a further 12 months following their final separation before either of them could apply for a divorce.

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