Legal Dimensions of Separation Under Australian law

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November 13, 2012
separation Under Australian Law

Separation is a very specific phenomenon under Australian law of domestic relations, because it has a complex and transitory nature, particularly due to its evidentiary significance in a gradually deteriorating marriage. On the other hand, separation is imbued with prominent emotions at varying stages of grief. Thus, separation in Australia is frequently connected with the below stages of grief:

  • Denial and shock in the relationship
  • Actual anger and blaming of either the former partner or some different person that is allegedly responsible for the deterioration of marriage
  • Depression and sadness
  • Acceptance and accommodation to new conditions of life

Regulation of separation under Australian statutory and case law

Australian courts substantially extended the statutory dimensions of separation under Australian law. Thus, in Fields & Smith, the court ruled that it was just and equitable to make an order for property settlement.[1] Also, the court verified the equality of contributions pre-separation by the parties and found that the assets of the parties did not alter post-separation due to the efforts of either party. In deciding the case, the court also took into consideration changes in the role of the wife as parent and homemaker post-separation and decided that the changes did not decrease her entitlement to an equal division of the property. In the final analysis, the court held that there should be equal distribution of the parties’ assets upon separation.