Can my spouse and I be regarded as being separated even though we are still living in the same house?
Yes. Couples can be separated even though they are living in the same house. This often occurs in situations where the separated couple may continue living in the same house for a period of time until one of them is able to move out.
Who pays the mortgage repayments and all the other household bills after separation?
This really depends as to what is appropriate in the circumstances. Even though mortgage repayments and fixed household expenses may be a joint responsibility, it may be appropriate for one person to pay them after separation. We recommend that you discuss your options with a family lawyer as soon as possible to ensure suitable arrangements for the payment of household bills are in place until you reach a property settlement agreement with your partner.
I have asked my ex-spouse to move out of our home but he or she does not agree. Is there any way I can get my ex-spouse to move out?
If you find yourself in a situation where cohabitation with your ex-spouse is no longer workable or reasonable, you may be entitled to seek an exclusive occupation order which in effect directs the other person to move out of the house. However, you should first speak to a family lawyer and seek advice as to what options you have available to resolve the situation before you commence proceedings.
What belongings and household goods can I take with me from our home once I move out?
You can take your personal belongings such as your clothing and your own personal records. With regards to household goods, it will depend on your circumstances as to whether it is appropriate to take them. If possible, you should try to reach an agreement with your spouse as to what household items you can take. If that is not possible, you should seek advice from a family lawyer as to which way it is appropriate to proceed in your circumstances.
If we are separated does that mean we have to go to Court to resolve our property dispute or children’s issues?
No. In our experience, most cases are resolved through out-of-court settlement negotiations or other forms of alternative dispute resolution. A small number of cases that are started in Court go to a final hearing as the majority of such cases are resolved through settlement negotiations during the course of the proceedings. Lawyers can assist the parties by advising them of their likely entitlements as well as assisting them in their settlement negotiations to resolve their dispute.
For specific advice or assistance with any family law related issues, please contact Anthi Balafas, Accredited Specialist in Family Law.