While most people would understand immediately what a separation is, whether separation has occurred has been the subject of many judicial decisions. The date of separation is an important one in the family law context.

Put simplistically, separation occurs when one party to the relationship forms an intention to end the relationship; and then communicates this intention to the other party. Separation is not concerned with physical separation but rather the breakdown of the consortium vitae or marital relationship.

The date of separation is important with respect to both married and de facto couples.

For married couples the date of separation is the start of the period which evidences the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage relationship, and the only ground for divorce; that is, a period of separation for 12 months before a divorce can be applied for.

For de facto couple, a limitation period operates 2 years from the date of separation after which time you will be statute barred from bringing a de facto property adjustment claim unless you receive permission to proceed from the court in advance.

The date of separation is also an important consideration in other contexts including evaluating contributions parties have made to property between the date of separation and judgment.

Of the top ten stressful events listed on the original Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, separation is listed as the 3rd most stressful life event.

Given the significance of these events in your life, it is critical you receive expert assistance to transition through this difficult period. Every tunnel has a light at the other end and Hooper Family Lawyers Brisbane can help you find it.