The terms “Separation” and “Divorce” have very different meanings in the context of family law.
The term “separation” refers to when you have decided that the relationship is over. It is possible to be separated “under the same roof “, which is when you have separated but are still living together in the same house. It is important to agree on what the date of separation is as this may have implications on your legal rights.
As soon as you have separated you need to work out parenting arrangements for your children, how to deal with the on-going expenses relating to your children and work out the terms of a financial settlement between you regarding the split of your assets.
If you reach agreement in relation to your financial settlement, the agreement can be made legally binding by way of Consent Orders filed with the Family Court or a Binding Financial Agreement drafted by a solicitor. This can be done at any time after separation, you do not need to be “Divorced”.
‘Divorce’, on the other hand, is how you officially and legally end a marriage. You must have been separated for at least 12 months before you can apply to the Court for a divorce. Importantly, you can only file an Application for Consent Orders to formalise your financial agreement within 12 months of being officially divorced.