Living Apart from Your Spouse

Living apart

Navigating the complexities of separation and divorce involves understanding legal terms and their implications.

One such crucial term is “living apart,” which holds significance in divorce cases based on three or four years of separation, as outlined in Section 95 of the Women’s Charter.

But what exactly does “living apart” entail, and how does it impact the process of proving the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage? Let’s look deeper into this concept.

Understanding “Living Apart”

When we discuss “living apart” in the context of separation, we must consider both physical and mental dimensions. This distinction was underscored in the legal case of Deepak Govindran Kirpalani v Rita Kishinchand Bhojwani [2006] SGDC 173.

Here, it was emphasized that more than mere physical separation is required; there must be a mental element that transforms the physical distance into the substantive “living apart” mandated by Section 95(3).

The mental component of “living apart” revolves around the choice to reside in separate households, rather than being separated by necessity.

For instance, if one spouse relocates to another country for work, the physical separation alone does not fulfill the criteria of “living apart” unless it’s a voluntary choice.

Moreover, the mental element remains intact even if either party attempts to reconcile or salvage the marriage during the period of separation.

It’s essential to note that sincere efforts to mend the relationship do not negate the validity of the separation if both parties have consciously chosen to live apart.

Read more: Deed of Reconciliation

Temporary Reconciliation and Legal Ramifications

A common concern is what happens if separated parties reconcile for a brief period during the separation period. Section 95(7) of the Women’s Charter addresses this scenario.

While acknowledging the possibility of reconciliation attempts, the law stipulates that if the period of living together doesn’t exceed six months, it doesn’t undermine the plaintiff’s case in relying on the fact of living apart.

Understanding legal terminology is paramount. “Living apart” isn’t merely about physical distance but encompasses a significant mental aspect—a deliberate choice to reside separately. This distinction becomes crucial in proving the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.

By comprehending the nuances of “living apart,” individuals embarking on the path of separation or divorce can navigate the legal terrain with clarity and foresight, ensuring their rights and interests are protected.

Read more: The Grounds for Divorce Revised

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