What do we need to do to be separated under one roof?
Pretty much what you would have done if one of you had moved out. But now you may be required to prove that you are leading “separate lives”. Social Security law breaks down the relationship into five categories when determining whether or not there was separation under one roof.
(1) The financial aspects of the relationship. Have you separated out your finances? Do you hold different bank accounts? Is there a property settlement or did you seek legal advice about dividing your property?
(2) Nature of the household. This factor considers the physical separation within the house, making you and your spouse independent of one another. Are you living in separate rooms? Have you stopped eating together? Do you no longer help each other with laundry, cleaning, cooking and shopping?
(3) Social Aspects of the Relationship. This has to do with how you are viewed by others. Do you no longer go out together – to functions, parties, holidays – as a couple? Have you told other people that you are no longer together? Do one or both of you have a relationship with someone else?
(4) Absence of a sexual relationship.
(5) Nature of the Commitment. This factor considers whether the level of commitment between the partners has changed. Have you stopped discussing joint plans for the future? Would you help the other person in a time of crisis?
A court may consider any or all of these factors when deciding whether or not the separation requirement was fulfilled.