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Can You Live in the Same House but be Legally Separated?

couple arguing during divorce creating stressful situation for child
Can you live in the same House but be Legally Separated?
It is possible to live in the same house as your ex-partner and to be considered separated.
In fact, it is not uncommon to see separated spouses continue to reside in the same home following separation. This can happen for several reasons, including financial reasons, concerns about losing parenting rights, etc.
For family law purposes, as long as two parties are living separate and apart with no prospect of reconciliation, they are considered to be separated. Living separate and apart means that either one spouse has communicated to the other that the relationship is over (or both have agreed that it is over), and they are no longer living together as a couple. Often this means they are sleeping in separate rooms, no long attending social or family events together, have told others the relationship is over, etc.
The date that two parties separated carries significant relevance – it sets the start date for most limitation periods.  It sets the ‘valuation date’ for the division of net family property for married spouses. It also sets the end of the relationship duration for spousal support purposes.
In order to address/resolve the issues arising from a separation, whether parenting, support or property division, it will be necessary to negotiate a separation agreement, or initiate a court application.
It is important to note that the definition for separation is different for CRA purposes. The CRA considers parties separated for tax purposes when they have been living separate and apart for 90 days or more, and generally this means living in separate households, or proving separate living quarters in the same home.
Once spouses are considered separated by the CRA, this can have several tax effects, including but not limited to the amount of tax benefits, credits and deductions.
It is thus important to obtain advice very quickly once a separation occurs in order to ensure that legal rights arising from a separation are protected.

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About the Author

Barbara developed her passion for family law early on in her career. Barbara has practiced exclusively family law since her call to the Bar in 2003, articling with a sole practitioner in family law and then practicing with a boutique family law office prior to her arrival at Nathens, Siegel LLP in 2007. Over the years, Barbara has developed extensive experience in virtually all areas of family law including: custody, access, child and spousal support as well as complex property division.