You can be considered separated from your spouse even if you still live in the same house.
But you might have to prove to a court that you've actually separated if:
- you've ended your relationship, but
- you're still living together (to save money on bills, for example).
Keep a note of the date you agreed to separate. It can be important because:
- you can't apply for an uncontested divorce until you've been separated for one year, and
- usually you share property, assets and debts that you got during the relationship.
There's no one thing that proves you were separated. When the court's deciding about this it looks at whether you:
- file your taxes together and your finances are integrated (joined)
- sleep in the same bed
- have sex
- take vacations together
- attend social events together
- visit each other's family
- celebrate special occasions together
- prepare and eat meals together
- share household chores in the way you did when you were a couple
- support each other in times of crisis
- present yourselves to family and friends as a couple
- are planning a future together
- attend relationship counselling
If you've stopped doing all or most of these things, the court will be much more likely to decide that you're separated.
See Living Together or Living Apart: Common-law relationships, marriage, separation, and divorce for more about sharing a house when you've separated.
Updated on 13 September 2019