Overriding principle: separation of at least one year

A simple divorce...

is precisely that--simple. In Canada, the only legal reason you need for a divorce is ‘marriage breakdown’. The law recognizes that there has been a marriage breakdown if the two parties have been separated for at least a year. Separation arises when one, or both parties for that matter, has decided that the marriage is over and there is no chance of reconciliation. What can make a divorce complicated are the 'corollary' issues--i.e. issues dealing with property, custody and access, child support and spousal support.

How do I become legally separated?

There is no ‘legal separation’ in Ontario. For example, you cannot come to court for a ‘Separation Certificate’. When one party to a relationship decides the relationship is over and there is no chance of reconciliation, this is considered to be the separation date. Under certain circumstances, parties can be considered separated even if they continue to live under the same roof. Generally speaking, the date of separation is of little consequence unless there is a serious disagreement of many months or years as to the date of separation; or unless one is dealing with property that fluctuates in value significantly over a short period of time (for example, volatile stocks).

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