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What does a sleep divorce really mean?

It is not in common to read articles in newspaper, magazines and online that indicate that many couples are choosing to sleep in separate bedrooms in order to get a good night's sleep. 

However, does sleeping in separate bedrooms constitute a separation under the Family Law Act?

The answer – not necessarily. 

Provided all the other aspects of the relationship are intact such as continuing to co-parent children, being seen in public as a couple on social engagements, sharing family finances, holidaying together and all the other public aspects that a couple undertakes, then it will not constitute a separation. 

There may be many reasons why people choose to sleep in separate bedrooms apart from the snoring issue, there may be issues due to health, unfriendly work hours and shift work. 

In considering whether a separation has occurred between a couple, a Court is required to undertake an analysis of all aspects of the relationship, not just if the parties are sleeping in separate bedrooms. The Court has found relationships to be intact even when parties are living in separate residences, for instance, due to the need to work in different locations or to offer care for elderly parents.

It is the totality of the relationship that matters and the history of how the couple have conducted their lives together in the past that will assist the court in determining whether there has been a separation or not.

Need to know more? Contact one of our family law team members for advice on your sleep divorce. 

This article was written by Senior Associate, Franca Parolin. 

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