Divorce Laws in Canada: Frequently Asked Questions

divorce FAQ


Divorce is typically a stressful time, but it can also be a bit confusing as you undergo the process. Here are some of the frequently asked questions about divorce laws in Canada.


Who Pays for a Divorce in Canada?


A very common question during divorce is who will pay the legal fees. Given that divorce can frequently arise from financial issues, this can be a cause of great concern.


Canadian family law states to ensure a fair trial, the spouse with more money may be asked to pay what is known as an interim disbursement, which is an amount used by the spouse in need to pay for divorce lawyers and related fees. This is not a guarantee of payment by the supporting spouse, but it is an expectation that they should be contributing fairly.


What Are the Acceptable Grounds and Reasons for Divorce?


There are three acceptable grounds for divorce in Canada: adultery, cruelty, and separation.


  • Adultery is when one spouse engages in an extramarital affair. The spouse engaged in the affair may not apply for the divorce under this ground and joint applications for adultery cannot be made.


  • Cruelty occurs when one spouse acts in a malicious manner toward the other, either physically or mentally. Although arguments and heated disagreements may be unpleasant, they do not constitute cruelty, though constant insults and other abusive behaviour might.


  • Separation is defined as both parties living apart for at least one year, though it does not necessarily require living in separate dwellings. If both spouses eat separately, sleep in different bedrooms, and do not interact beyond the necessary minimum, they can be viewed as being separated.


What’s the Difference Between a Divorce and a Separation?


A legal separation allows both parties to live separately while maintaining the rights and responsibilities of marriage. If the couple is not fully committed to seeking a divorce, they may opt for a trial separation, living separately but without officially ending their marriage.


During this time, they may keep joint property and bank accounts, and maintain health coverage and other benefits. A court order will be drawn up to detail each party’s rights and responsibilities, including child custody. Some couples use this time apart as a way of measuring if they truly desire to end their marriage.


Divorce is the final step in terminating their lives together. Upon divorce, the marriage no longer exists and neither party has any legal rights or responsibilities toward the other, aside from those expressly set as terms of the divorce.


Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Canada?


According to Canadian law, each spouse is entitled to half of the equity accumulated in the family home during the marriage. Although the title or mortgage may only be in one name, both parties have a claim to the equity of the house.


When is it Allowed to Remarry After a Divorce?


In most cases, 31 days must pass following the declaration of divorce before you can remarry, though in certain cases such as a no-fault divorce, you may remarry as soon as the divorce has been granted by the court.


To marry again you must be able to demonstrate to the court that you are divorced.




  • 250-487-7030
  • info@hillsidelaw.ca
  • 346 Ellis Street, Penticton, British Columbia V2A 4L7

A Covid-19 Update

From Hillside Law Inc.

We remain open for business as normal, but our office space is temporarily closed to the public. To contact us, please call 250-487-7030.