Divorce is a challenging journey, and understanding the legal requirements is crucial for a smooth process. In Australia, a common question arises: Do you need to live separately to get divorced? As experienced divorce lawyers, we delve into this topic, providing insights particularly relevant to those seeking Divorce Lawyers in Melbourne and dealing with family separation.

The Concept of Separation Under One Roof

Australian law mandates a separation period of at least 12 months before filing for divorce. This separation, however, doesn’t always imply physical distance. Couples can be legally ‘separated’ while residing in the same house, a situation often referred to by divorce lawyers as “separation under one roof.”

Why Opt for Separation Under One Roof?

Couples in Melbourne and across Australia might choose this route due to financial reasons, childcare needs, or the hope of reconciliation. In such cases, it is critical to demonstrate to the court that the marital relationship has ceased, despite living together.

Proving Separation in the Eyes of Divorce Lawyers

To obtain a divorce under these conditions, evidence must be provided. Divorce lawyers often advise documenting:

  • Altered sleeping arrangements
  • Reduction in shared activities
  • Splitting of financial assets and liabilities
  • Communication to friends and family regarding the separation

Legal and Emotional Dynamics of Family Separation

The complexities of living together while legally separated can be emotionally and legally taxing. Divorce Lawyers in Melbourne often suggest seeking legal advice to manage this situation. Counseling or mediation may also be beneficial in handling the emotional aspects of family separation.

The 12-Month Separation Period: A Legal Necessity

This period is crucial for reflecting on the decision to divorce and considering reconciliation. It’s important to note, as divorce lawyers often advise, that resuming the marital relationship for up to three months can reset this separation clock.

Applying for Divorce Post-Separation

Post the 12-month separation period, individuals can file for divorce, either jointly or individually. Divorce Lawyers in Melbourne emphasize that court hearings are generally required if children under 18 are involved.


Living separately is not strictly necessary for a divorce in Australia, but proving separation is. Whether physically separated or under one roof, the focus is on the breakdown of the marital relationship. Divorce lawyers, especially those specializing in family separation in Melbourne, play a crucial role in guiding through these legal requirements. Seeking professional advice is highly recommended for a seamless divorce process.

Further Reading and Resources