Divorce and separation are two different terms in family law, and so is the divorce process in Ontario. Spouses use both methods to end their marriages. In addition, either spouse can file for divorce or separation. However, the separation process in Ontario involves deciding to live separate and apart from each other as you await a more permanent decision. On the other hand, divorce is the final step in ending the marriage altogether.
Although separated, the couple is still considered husband and wife. Couples may separate as they wait to make a more permanent decision regarding their relationship, which may or may not include divorce. Once spouses divorce, they are no longer considered husband and wife.
Separation offers spouses opportunities to agree on custody, child support, visitation, property division, and spousal support. However, if they can’t agree, a judge will resolve all outstanding issues before formally ending their marriage. The parties are considered single people once the divorce is over.
Can you get a divorce if you were not married in Canada?
Yes, you can get a divorce even if you were not married in Canada, provided you have stayed in the country for at least a year. Divorce in Canada is granted on an individual’s residency status, not the location of the marriage.
How can I get a divorce in Ontario?
It would help if you had a reason to be granted a divorce and separation in Ontario. You only need to prove that your marriage broke down to be granted a divorce. One of the best ways to prove your marriage has broken down is by showing that you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least a year.
Spouses can be separated and still live under the same roof. In such a case, you need to prove that you did not live together as a couple.
What are my rights if I get separated or divorced?
To get a divorce in Canada, you must prove that your marriage has broken down and that you have been separated for at least one year. However, you can be granted a divorce without separation in specific circumstances such as:
- If your spouse committed adultery and you did not forgive the adultery
- If your spouse is physically or psychologically abusive or cruel
Typically, divorce without separation often takes longer and is usually more costly.
Can you be automatically divorced if you have been separated for a long time?
No, you cannot be automatically divorced regardless of how long you have been separated. In Canada, divorce does not occur automatically, which means your marriage cannot be nullified based on the duration of your separation only. Being separated for at least one year provides grounds for a divorce. However, you must go through the proper legal process to be granted a divorce in Ontario.
Can you be granted a divorce if the other spouse is unwilling to get a divorce?
Yes, the fact that one of the spouses wants a divorce is a sign of a marriage that has broken down. Nevertheless, you will need to apply for separation and wait for at least one year to be granted the divorce.
Do you have other questions about divorce in Ontario? Please call Positive Solutions Divorce Services for a free consultation with our online mediation specialists for separating couples in Ontario: 888-779-8777.