Latest Family Law Insights

Separated Under One Roof – Can I Claim Benefits?

Published January 25th, 2022

Financial and parenting disputes can quickly turn into ongoing arugments when a relationship ends. This is especially true if you are still living separated under one roof and don’t have any kind of agreement or plan for what will happen while you are living in the same residence.

When people are in a state of uncertainty, they often become afraid of what the future holds for them. This can lead to an even worse situation because emotions run high during stressful moments, making both parties less open-minded and compromise oriented when trying to solve problems.

To help you better understand the financial and legal issues that could arise during your separation, we’ve created this article to answer your question and to help you understand what you need to do when living separated under the same roof.

What is Separation Under One Roof?

When a couple is separated under one roof, they will have to provide extra information and proof of the separation when applying for a divorce.

It is possible to qualify for a divorce in Australia if some or even all of your separation has taken place while living separated under the same roof. The important thing you need as an applicant is evidence. You must provide evidence that would convince any reasonable person — and this includes lawyers on both sides of how long you have been living separated under the same roof.

When two people decide to separate and live under the same roof, it can be hard to know what should happen with property or finances. You may not be sure who owned certain things before the separation but you now want to make sure they are divided fairly. To help make this process go as smoothly as possible Sage Family Lawyers can draft an affidavit that proves there has been a change due to separation within your relationship.

Furthermore, if you have children with your ex-partner then it is going to be a little more complicated. It is important to tell Centrelink about any changes in your situation. You can do this by filling out an application form through the Department of Human Services and providing them with all relevant information.

The challenges of being separated under the same roof with your spouse or partner can be difficult for any couple, but it is exponentially more challenging if you are a parent. Your child will quickly notice that their secure home isn’t what it used to be. As difficult as this situation may sound at first glance; there are plenty of ways that both parents can work together successfully.

Can I Claim Centrelink Payments if I am Living Separated Under One Roof?

separated under the same roof

Centrelink will consider your relationship status when determining payment eligibility and the amount of funds available for you.

Have you been receiving the same amount of money from Centrelink every month? If not, then there might be more available for single people than couples. If you’ve had a change in your relationship status, it is important that you let Centrelink know within 14 days. You’ll likely need to fill out their Separation Details Form and provide information about any new partners.

The Department of Human Services (Centrelink) may consider you single if you and your ex-partner are still living together under one roof. You must explain the reasons for this arrangement, from credible sources such as doctors or other community leaders that can attest to an independent relationship breakdown between yourself and your ex-partner.

Centrelink will consider whether you are in a relationship as part of your eligibility for benefits. They will look at financial arrangements, accommodation and household set-up; social relationships (including sexual intimacy); commitment to each other – which can include shared costs like electricity bills or car registration fees even if you don’t drive.

To find out how this will affect your eligibility and benefits it’s best to speak with Centrelink to make sure you are getting the correct amount of benefits.

How do I Document My Living Arrangement When Separated Under One Roof?

To make sure you are receiving the correct Centrelink payments you will need to fill out a Separated Under One Roof Form (SS293) so Centrelink can assess whether or not to pay you as a single person.

This form will allow Centrelink to assess whether you and your ex-partner should be paid as a single person or in conjunction with another person. You both must fill out the same questionnaire, which can either be completed digitally through some browsers (so long as it’s accessible) or by using Acrobat PDFs on your computer.

Living separately but still in the same house is enough to qualify for a divorce. However, the important thing you need are documents that show your separation—even if all signs point towards living together as well.

How to Separate Living Expenses While Separated Under One Roof?

If there is an existing joint bank account that you both have been using to pay utility bills you may continue to use this account for paying your bills. But if a joint bank account is not possible, each party can start paying utility bills while separated under one roof, so both parties contribute equally.

Whether you’re living under the same roof shouldn’t affect how much responsibility falls on each person when there’s an issue with something like electricity and gas bills, which can be paid for using shared or separate bank accounts.

If you are not sure about this process contact our team at Sage Family Lawyers for help with your enquiry.

Can I Apply For Divorce While Living Under The Same Roof

You must be separated from your ex-partner for a period of 12 months before you can apply for divorce, but some or all this time may happen while living separated under the same roof? If some or all of this time occurs while living separated under the same roof then it is important to show evidence which includes the following:

  • Changes to your finances that will happen when you separate. These can include opening up bank accounts, changing who is the beneficiary of any superannuation funds or Will.
  • Moving into separate bedrooms and changing shared email addresses or social media accounts indicates a change in your relationship.
  • New duties may need new responsibilities about childcare, so it’s essential to provide this information as evidence.
  • There are many social aspects of the relationship that you can change, such as ceasing all sexual contact and telling family and friends about your separation.

Will I Have to Go to Court to Prove I am Living Separated Under One Roof?

You do not need to be present if it only regards your divorce, but you should provide any relevant documents for the court to hear all sides of the arguments when necessary.
If a child under 18 years old is involved in the relationship, you must attend court even though adults don’t require representation by counsel.

When a couple is applying for divorce while separated under the same roof, they do not need to attend the proceedings if there is an Affidavit from both parties.

In all other cases, you don’t need to attend court so long as the Court has enough information on your separation in both Applications and Affidavits.

Need to Know More About Living Separated Under One Roof?

If you’re considering a divorce and want to continue living separated under the same roof, it’s important to seek legal help from an experienced family lawyer. You may have important details that need to be presented before the Court in order to explain the circumstances accurately.

Contact our friendly team today on 03 9070 9839 for more information. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a separated spouse entitled to in a separation?

It’s common to feel stressed and emotions running high after a separation. You may be wondering if you’ll ever get back what was shared with your former partner, or how the property should work out between two people who live far away from each other? The way that usually division happens depends on individual circumstances but one thing is certain: even when there isn’t much money earned by either party involved in this situation-they still deserve their fair share.

How long can you live together after legal separation?

Living together after a separation isn’t new, but remember that legal separation is not the same as divorce. You’re still married to your spouse in an official capacity — you are just living separated under one roof. Once courts grant a legal separation they will be making a commitment on how much property needs to be divided up and who gets legal custody over the children.

Does a husband have to support his wife while separated under one roof?

The law provides that a person has the responsibility to financially assist their spouse or former de-facto partner if they cannot meet reasonable expenses from personal income or assets. Where this need exists both parties are obliged equally in supporting and maintaining each other as much as possible.

What's the difference between divorce and legal separation?

If you’re living together separated under one roof and you file for legal separation, your marriage will still be considered “legally intact.” This means it can continue to exist in some way. However, when dealing with a divorce or dissolution process, the two parties end things legally and completely dissolve the marriage.


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Harriet graduated with a Juris Doctorate from Monash University in 2017 and was admitted in the same year.