Family Law

What are the indicators that demonstrate there has been a change in the marital relationship

Published in: October 2016

There is of course no uniform way in which marriages should be conducted, and the law does not attempt to define how a married couple should behave. Instead, the court will look at evidence showing that there has been a change in the overall character of a relationship.

The reasoning behind why the court will look to any changes in the overall character of a relationship is essential if there is any dispute that may arise in relation to the date of separation. Consequently, the court will look at the entirety of circumstances of the relationship pre and post-separation.

Some of the factors that the court may consider when determining separation can include whether the parties live together, whether they continue to have sexual relations, complete household duties for one another such as cooking and cleaning, present themselves as a couple out in public, jointly care for any children, and whether they support or protect one another may be some of the considerations of the court. Although some of the aforementioned indicators may be considered, it should be reemphasised that the absence of the indicators does not within itself signify that the marriage has come to an end, and that there is no formula which is indicative that the marriage has reached its conclusion.

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