Section 50 Family Law Act is related to the effect of resumption of cohabitation. This essentially allows couples to “resume cohabitation” even after they have separated.
The cohabitation period can be up to 3 months, without the period of cohabitation affecting their total period of separation.
In Australia, couples can get a divorce order finalised once they prove that they were separated for a period of 12 months.
However, under Section 50 of Family Law Act, separated couples can resume cohabitation for a short period of time i.e. not more than 3 months.
The 3-month limitation helps the couple as they are not required to restart their 12 month separation period.
Section 50 Family Law Act: Example
For example, let’s suppose a couple has been living separately for 3 months. They then decide to briefly resume living together.
If the couple has lived together for 2 months and once again decide that they want to push through with the divorce, they will not be required to restart the 12-month separation period.
Since they were initially separated for 3 months, they can complete 9 more months of separation in order to get a divorce. This means that the periods of separation and living apart before and after the short period of cohabitation can be aggregated to fulfil the 12-month separation requirement.
What If A Couple Is Separated But Lives Under The Same Roof?
Under Australian law, a couple can separate but continue living under the same roof before getting a divorce order finalised. Parties may choose this option if they are facing financial difficulties.
In such scenarios, both parties will need to provide evidence of separation. This evidence must reflect that the relationship has broken down, and that neither party has any intention to resume the relationship.
Read more about separation but living under the same roof here.
Official Legislation On Section 50 Family Law Act
Section 50 of The Act states that:
- For the purposes of proceedings for a divorce order, where, after the parties to the marriage separated, they resumed cohabitation on one occasion but, within a period of 3 months after the resumption of cohabitation, they again separated and thereafter lived separately and apart up to the date of the filing of the application, the periods of living separately and apart before and after the period of cohabitation may be aggregated as if they were one continuous period, but the period of cohabitation shall not be deemed to be part of the period of living separately and apart
- For the purposes of subsection (1), a period of cohabitation shall be deemed to have continued during any interruption of the cohabitation that, in the opinion of the court, was not substantial.
If you are in need of legal guidance for family law matters, contact our team today.