A “divorce” is when a court officially ends a marriage. Only legally married couples can divorce. A divorce normally follows a period of separation, when a married couple decides to live apart from each other because the relationship has broken down.
The Canadian legal system provides for “no fault divorce”, which means the provision of a divorce, and any corollary relief (i.e. spousal support), are not dependent on or impacted by the reasons for divorce. The system for divorce is the responsibility of the federal government. The federal government enacted the Divorce Act, which provides the rules that govern divorce.
The Divorce Act provides rules relating to:
Property division falls within the domain of the provinces and territories.
There are three possible grounds for divorce in Canada:
The vast majority of divorces in Canada are granted on the grounds of living separate and apart for 1 year. While it is possible to obtain divorce in less than 1 year under the alternative grounds, practically speaking such grounds are not usually pursued because of the evidence necessary to prove the grounds.
While a divorce may be a client’s primary objective, it is usually the final step in the process after a period of separation in which issues relating to support, custody/access, and property division have been resolved.
Typically, one or both spouses will seek the assistance of a lawyer as complex or difficult issues arise, to become informed about his or her legal rights and obligations, and to improve negotiations with his or her spouse. Obtaining legal advice before entering into dispute resolution processes can assist the parties in reaching a more cost-effective and efficient outcome. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) includes negotiation, mediation, arbitration and collaboration, which are all alternatives to resolving legal disputes through court. When marital disputes are not resolved through one or more ADR processes, it may be necessary to commence a court application.
See Alternative Dispute Resolution for more information on our ADR services.
At Ambrosino Law Group, we have over 20 years’ experience expertly handling all aspects of divorce, from filing uncontested divorces to achieving mediated settlements and litigated outcomes in court. Call us to discuss how we can help you resolve your divorce-related legal issues.