Part 3: Separation and Resumption of Cohabitation

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Another area of confusion is where parties have separated but in an attempt to reconcile they resume cohabitation. Where parties separate, resume cohabitation, and then separate again, the period of cohabitation will have an effect on the Court’s determination of whether parties have in fact been separated for the required minimum period of 12 months.

Essentially, resuming cohabitation in an attempt to reconcile is interpreted as parties living together as husband and wife and resuming the marriage as prior to the separation. Resuming cohabitation will essentially mean that the 12 month time period will restart. There is however an exception where the court will consider the period prior to cohabitation, as forming part of the minimum 12 month required period of being separated. Such exception exists where parties separate again within 3 months after resuming cohabitation as husband and wife. If separation occurs outside of the 3 month exception, parties are required to prove separation for a further 12 months.