"What are the grounds for a divorce in Canada?"
The Canada Divorce Act recognises three grounds for a divorce: adultery, cruelty and being separated for one year. Most divorces proceed on the basis of the parties being separated for one year, even if there has been adultery or cruelty, because proving adultery or cruelty is expensive and time consuming.
"When does the one-year period start running?"
The period starts from the time at least one spouse intends to live separate and apart from the other and acts on it. You do not need a piece of paper or a court order to be separated. There is no such thing as a “legal separation” in Canada.
"My spouse and I live in the same house, but in separate bedrooms. Does this qualify as being separated?"
Yes. Whether you are separated is based on what either party intends.
"Do I have to apply for a divorce?"
You can deal with all rights and obligations that arise due to the breakdown of your marriage without obtaining a divorce. You do this by negotiating and signing a separation agreement. However, it is best to obtain a divorce at the same time. The divorce legally ends your marriage and allows you to remarry. Your lawyer can help you obtain your divorce.
"I got married in France. Can I get a divorce in Ontario?"
Possibly. Divorce in Ontario is based on residency, not place of marriage. If you or your spouse have lived in Ontario for the last year, you may obtain a divorce here.
"I have been separated from my spouse for over 10 years. Is it true that I’m divorced because I’ve been separated so long?"
No. You must make an application to the court for a divorce, otherwise you will not be divorced, no matter how much time passes since you separated.
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