Divorces can be fraught with emotion and frustration, and can become quite complex processes depending on nature of the factors involved. Before initiating divorce proceedings, it is always a good idea to consider whether marriage counselling may help resolve differences thereby averting a permanent breakdown of the relationship.

If parties decide to proceed with divorce nonetheless, a divorce order must be obtained to legally end the marriage. Divorce orders are made by a judge in accordance with the Canadian federal Divorce Act. Either party may initiate an application in court requesting an order for divorce. The parties may also make a joint application. The process may be terminated at any time before the final order for divorce is made, if parties wish to consider reconciliation.

The Divorce Act recognizes three (3) valid grounds for divorce:

1. Mental or physical cruelty: an application on this ground must include evidence of domestic violence inflicted upon one spouse by the other to such an extent as to make continued cohabitation with each other intolerable.
2. Adultery: an application under this ground need not mention the party with whom the adulterous spouse was involved, but if it does, that party must be served with the application.
3. Separation: an application under this ground necessitates that the parties have been continuously separated for a period of at least one (1) year before the divorce may be granted by the court. If the parties should reconcile in the interim, such period of reconciliation must not exceed ninety (90) consecutive days, otherwise the parties must re-commence their one (1) year period of separation.

Before an order for divorce is granted by the court, a judge will review the application to determine if all necessary financial and living arrangements for the care and custody of any minor children have been made to the satisfaction of the court.

We regularly act for clients going through contested and uncontested divorces. Please contact our office for more information about divorce law in Canada.