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There are three grounds for divorce:

  • The spouses are separated from one full year;
  • Cruelty;
  • Adultery.

Almost all modern divorces are based on the one-year separation. The court can conclude that the parties have separated even if they both still live at the same residence. The separation is harder to prove if the parties reside at the same address, however. The one-year criterion can still be satisfied even if the spouses attempt to reconcile for up to 90 (not necessarily consecutive) days.You can get a divorce in Canada if you are not a Canadian citizen. Either you or your spouse must have resided in Canada for one full year.

Parties can bring a court Application to deal with child custody, support, access and division of family property immediately after separation. The actual divorce is often resolved separately.

The spouses can file a joint Divorce Application. The court does not need the consent of both parties to grant a divorce.

If you wish to commence a Divorce Application, you need to assemble the following:

  1. Marriage Certificate
  2. A Divorce Order or the former spouse’s Death Certificate if these documents were obtained from another jurisdiction;
  3. Proof that the other spouse was served a Divorce Application;
  4. Two cheques to the Minister of Finance
  • One for $157.00 to file the Divorce Application
  • One for $280.00 if you want the judge to decide on the Divorce Application.

Parties that were not formally married do not need a legal divorce. The issues of child custody, access and support (both child and spousal support) still apply. Technically speaking, the law regarding the division of marital assets does not apply to “common law” couples. Common law spouses are often entitled to compensation through the doctrine of “constructive trust”, however.

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