To get a divorce in Canada you and your spouse must be separated for one year.
A legal separation documents that fact, but a "Legal Separation" is neither a requirement nor a legal term.
We recommend that you both prepare a Separation Agreement as proof of your separation in case you are challenged. It is cheap insurance and helps avoid delays.
To be legally separated, you and your spouse must live in different homes.
Often this is not financially feasible, and if you have children, it is usually in your children's best interests to stay at the matrimonial home until custody and access arrangements have been worked out.
However this seldom applies to men. Women are given preferential treatment in all custody matters which usually means they get to keep the family home. The father gets to live in a one room basement apartment while paying for his former house, if he is lucky.
A temporary reconciliation ends a legal separation. This is not true. The Divorce Act allows couples to reconcile for a period or several periods totalling up to 90 days without affecting the one year separation period.
Date Of Separation:
The exact date the legal separation started matters.
This is where a legal separation agreement comes in very handy as it establishes the precise separation date.
One full year of separation needs to pass before a divorce is granted. The date of separation is also important for other legal issues, such as the division of property.
If assets have changed radically in and around the separation date, the courts will consider their division carefully.
It Only Takes One To Separate:
Both parties do not need to agree to a legal separation.
If one spouse unilaterally decides to separate and takes action in that regard, the couple is separated, even if the other spouse does not want this.
Formal Separation Agreement:
There does not need to be a separation agreement for the parties to be legally separated.
A separation agreement is a document that outlines all the rights and responsibilities of the spouses whose marriage is ended. Normally, it will need to be agreed upon before a divorce is granted.
However, it is not necessary to sign a separation agreement, for a couple to separate. A separation document is a voluntarily agreement that the parties have separated and usually outlines property, custody and other matters. They are not necessarily binding on the court.
Women often complain they felt pressured to sign and should not be held accountable. The courts fall for this scam most of the time.
No Need To Divorce To Be Separated Forever:
You do not need to get a divorce if you are separated. A divorce simply says you are free to remarry some time in the future if that is what you choose.
You and your spouse can stay separated for the rest of your lives, if that is what both of you choose.