CanLaw Guide to Family Law

Separation - Divorce - Custody  Access - Support - Child Support Paternity - Property Division

Current as of


Is The Only Way To

Legally End Your Marriage


 Is The Only

 "Grounds For Divorce"


is the fastest, simplest and cheapest way to get your divorce


Get divorced in about 60 days if uncontested

Marriage breakdown is based on any one of the following three "grounds."


  • Cruelty or
  • Adultery, or
  • Separation for one year.


You Only Need One Of The Three Grounds As A Reason To Get Your Divorce.

Adultery and Cruelty are difficult to prove and lead to expensive court battles.

Separation divorces are quick, easy cheap. Just prove you have been separated for a year and the divorce will be granted for that reason alone.


Ask A Lawyer Before You Decide

Separation for one year:

You have lived "separate and apart" for a year having decided the marriage is over. Living "separate and apart" does not necessarily mean living in separate homes. You can live separate and apart while sharing a home.

It is also possible to claim that although you only recently moved out and live in a different home, the marriage broke down and was essentially over at some time in the past, regardless of living arrangements

You do not need a separation agreement to prove separation, but it may useful if things get hostile.

However, A Separation Agreement Is Definitely Recommended. Separation agreement kit Click here To See The CanLaw Separation Agreement


You will also need to work out custody, access, support and property sharing.  Find a lawyer referral service CanLaw's lawyer referral service will help you find a lawyer

Your Separation Agreement will help you resolve property, custody and support matters. However you do not need a legal document that says you are separated, as there is no "legal separation" in Canada.

Divorce in Canada is controlled by the  Click here Divorce Act

However each province also has its own Family Law Acts, which will affect your divorce in some manner.

How Do You Determine When The One Year Waiting Period Started And Ends?

The clock starts running when you decide that the marriage is over and there can be no reconciliation. You do not have to be physically living in separate homes to be "separated."

Your separation can mean living in separate bedrooms, or as one of you moving out and living elsewhere.

Common Steps To Divorce.

Decide to Divorce.

Research the rules by browsing CanLaw; it is rich with free information.

Decide if you really need a lawyer to prepare your divorce documents. If both parties agree to an uncontested divorce you probably do not need a lawyer.

Actually read some of the how-to's and reports. 20 minutes of reading will save you thousands of dollars

The Steps To Take In Divorce

Each province has it's own way of doing things. Basically in each province the steps are:

  • File your first set of papers in the right court.
  • Wait for clearance from the Divorce Registry in Ottawa.
  • Wait the prescribed number of days and hope the other side does what you want.
  • File the second set of papers and your Affidavits.
  • File Motions and financial statements as requested.
  • Wait for a court decision
  • When Are You Divorced? Divorce becomes final 31 days after the judge signs the order.
  • Once the judgment is final you can apply for a certificate of divorce. You cannot remarry until you have that certificate. You will need proof of your Canadian Divorce.
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CanLaw's Guide To The Law For The Layperson On Divorce, Separation Agreements, Custody, Access, Child Support, Spousal Support And Equalization Issues

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