When speaking in the context of family law, the word “separation” describes the termination of a marriage or common-law partnership. It is said that a couple separated when they stopped living together as a couple. Unlike marriage or divorce, there is no legal procedure for separation. The absence of a formal procedure means that no application form, certificate or signature is involved. This usually means that there is no recorded date of separation, which sometimes leads to an argument about when the separation took place. If the date of separation is not always clearly identifiable, it is extremely important. The first step in most family law proceedings is separation (and the date on which it took place) which plays a decisive role in determining the course of events. Separation is inevitably a stressful process. It can be difficult to know what to say to whom, what is “normal” when going through separation, and where to find help with problems you may face along the way. The separation process begins with one or both people deciding to end your relationship and stop living together as a couple. Once the decision is made, it is usually followed by an interview in which you communicate your decision to disconnect. People communicate this in various ways, sometimes in consultation, sometimes in an email or letter, sometimes couples can sit down and discuss this difficult decision face to face. If you divorce, you must initiate matrimonial or matrimonial proceedings within 12 months of the entry into force of your divorce.
If you have had a factual relationship, you must initiate property or maintenance proceedings within two years of your separation. They could, for example, enter into an agreement that might not correspond to what a court would consider fair or enter into an agreement consisting of some unusual aspects that make it difficult to formalize the agreement by an order of approval. If this is the case, the parties may enter into a financial agreement under the Family Law Act (Cth) 1975. Imagine it as a treaty – it`s still legally binding on both parties, but it`s not reviewed by the court, and the consequences of non-compliance with the agreement differ from an order of approval. . . .