How To Get A Divorce When Separated, But Still Living Together.
Posted on 19th May 2020
Separation is hard, even in the most normal of times, particularly if neither party can afford to move out. However, the current worldwide pandemic may lead to extra complications when separating from a spouse due to the lockdown restrictions. So with that in mind are you still able to file for divorce when you are residing in the same property?
The short answer given by our experts in family law, is yes, you can. The first thing that must happen is that one party must make it clear to the other that they believe the marriage is over, or the parties agree that it is time to call it quits.
However as part of the divorce process you must explain to the Court the living arrangements. In order for the Court to approve your divorce petition you must show that you are living in separate households under the same roof. Simply no longer sharing the same bed or no longer speaking to one another is not enough.
As part of the application for decree nisi, which is the first decree of divorce, the Court will ask about the arrangements, and as long as you are not :-
1. Sharing meals
2. Sharing a bedroom
3. Being intimate with one another
4. Socialising together (unless for family special occasions)
5. Sharing the shopping
6. Eating meals together
7. Cooking, cleaning for one another or doing the other’s laundry
then you should be able to show that you are separated but under the same roof.
You can even apply on the basis of two years’ separation with consent provided you have been living separately under the same roof for the whole period.
We would, as your local divorce solicitors in Preston, stress that there is one thing to watch and that is that any period or periods of reconciliation may have an impact on the date of separation depending on how long the reconciliation(s) last. For example if you have lived together as spouses for a period or periods totalling over six months, then you will be unable to issue on the basis of behaviour, and the separation will start again from when the final period of reconciliation ended.
Of course the COVID -19 situation has limited a person’s chances to move out of the property that they share with their estranged spouse, even if one party can afford to do so, however as long as the above rules are followed then the Court is most likely to accept that the parties were living separately under the same roof.
If you have made the decision to end your marriage and require any advice then please do not hesitate to contact the Family Team in Lancaster on 01524 581306, family solicitors in Preston on 01772 783314, or by completing our online enquiry form here.
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