Generally, individuals are not aware of the rules and laws that apply prior, during and after the divorce process. In Canada we have a no-fault divorce system which is quite different than a fault divorce system. There is only one ground for a divorce under the Divorce Act and that is a breakdown of the marriage. This can be further broken down into three criteria in which you may apply under, such as:
- You and your spouse are now separated and will have been separated for at least one (1) year at the determination of the divorce proceeding;
- Your spouse has, since the celebration of the marriage, committed adultery;
- Your spouse has, since the celebration of the marriage, treated you with physical or mental cruelty of such a kind as to render intolerable the continued cohabitation of the spouses.
It is important to note that you or your spouse lived in the province or territory where you are applying for your divorce for a full year immediately before making an application. Further, you must ensure you are legally married under the laws of Canada. If you were married outside Canada, it is important that the marriage was and is recognized in Canada.
If you file for divorce under the first criteria (separated for at least one year) you and your spouse can live together for up to 90 days to try to reconcile. However, if things do not work out, you can continue with the divorce action without having to restart from the beginning.
Individuals should also keep in mind the issues that can/may arise during the divorce proceedings such as:
- Division of Matrimonial Property;
- Spousal Support;
- Custody, Access and Child Support; and
- Unjust enrichment.