What is the Divorce Process in Canada?

Divorce Process in Canada

The Divorce Process in Canada is a complex process, not just due to the mental and emotional toll it can extract but because the process itself is complicated. 

When the decision is made to end a marriage, both parties are typically interested in resolving matters and moving on as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, it can take months or potentially even years to complete everything, as the family court has several issues to review, such as division of property, child custody, and child support. The entire process can be drawn out, as each of these issues requires due consideration.

The Divorce Process in Canada

The federal Divorce Act governs divorce in Canada. There are certain criteria that must be met before you are able to file for a divorce:

  • You and your spouse must be legally married under the laws of Canada. If you were married in another country, your marriage must be recognized in Canada.
  • Your marriage must have broken down.
  • You and your spouse must have lived in the province or territory where you are applying for your divorce for a full year immediately preceding your application.

If you meet these criteria, you may proceed with your application. Here we will present a general overview of the process but be aware that each province or territory has its own procedures, documentation, and means of administration.

Step 1: The process begins with making the decision to divorce and separate from your partner. It may be a mutual decision, or it may be initiated by one partner.

Step 2: Obtain the application for divorce appropriate to your province or territory. They may be obtained from a bookstore, lawyer, family law information centre, or court office.

Step 3: Determine the grounds for filing for divorce and whether it is a no fault or for fault.

  • A no fault divorce process in Canada requires that you and your spouse complete a 1-year separation period.
  • A no fault divorce process in Canada results from situations such as abuse or adultery. To proceed with this type of divorce, you will need to provide proof to back up your claim. 

Step 4: Determine whether the divorce is contested or uncontested. This must be specified on the application.

  • In a contested divorce, spouses disagree on the terms of or reason for the divorce. Each spouse will have to file their own application.
  • In an uncontested divorce, partners agree about the terms of and reason for the divorce. Only one application is required.

Step 5: If children are involved, provide details about your agreement for parenting, custody, support, etc. If the divorce is contested, each spouse will detail their preferences for parenting. 

Step 6:  File your application(s) at the courthouse in your province or territory, or through your lawyer. Fees vary by location and there may be additional formalities to follow. The court clerk or your lawyer can provide you with guidance.

Step 7: You must now wait for clearance from the Divorce Registry in Ottawa. Once served the divorce papers, your spouse has 30 days to respond to the application. 

Step 8: If there is no answer filed by your spouse within the 30 days, you may set down your divorce by submitting your Affidavit for Divorce, Divorce Order, and Clerk’s Certificate.

Step 9: You must wait again, this time for the court’s decision on whether to grant your divorce. If the judge is satisfied upon reviewing your submissions, they will issue a Divorce Order.

Step 10:  30 days following the Divorce Order, you can obtain your Certificate of Divorce, at which time you will be legally divorced and able to remarry.

Once you have determined that a divorce is the appropriate course of action, these steps can provide you with guidance on how to proceed but be sure to check with your province or territory for additional information particular to your location.

Divorce Services in Penticton

The Divorce Process in Canada FAQ’s

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

A Covid-19 Update

From Hillside Law Inc.

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