Unlike a separation, divorce is the formal end to a marriage, legally changing a married person’s status from married to single. This change can only be made by a court. While it is not necessary to obtain a divorce following the breakdown of a marriage, until you obtain a divorce, you remain married in the eyes of the law, even if you are separated and living apart.
Although many spouses seeking a divorce have already been separated, divorce can still be a stressful and overwhelming process. The experienced divorce lawyer at NULaw can help you navigate this emotional situation. We understand that clients want to resolve their issues in a timely and cost-effective manner and move forward. We have established a reputation for our focused, client-driven approach and for providing our clients with honest and pragmatic advice while keeping their best interests in mind.
Divorce only applies to couples who are married, and not those in a common-law relationship. Divorce in Canada is governed by the Divorce Act, which stipulates that a “breakdown in marriage” is required to obtain a divorce.
A breakdown in marriage can be established in one of three ways:
If parties are obtaining a divorce, chances are they already have a separation agreement that addresses details such as spousal support, division of property, child support, and custody and access. However, this is not always the case, and divorces can get messy and complicated.
If you and your spouse have been separated for more than one year, and have resolved or have agreed upon property, spousal support, child support, and custody/access issues (through a separation agreement or otherwise) you can obtain an uncontested divorce.
A divorce is deemed uncontested where one spouse has been served with an Application for Divorce and the other spouse decides not to respond. The court can process uncontested divorces without requiring the spouses to appear in court (though sometimes they may have to). A Divorce Certificate can be issued at the end of the process and will be required if either party wishes to re-marry.
In contrast to an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce is one in which the spouses disagree on some or all of the details peripheral to the divorce (i.e. property division, spousal support, child support, and custody/access issues). Contested divorces take longer to resolve than uncontested divorces, and can quickly become expensive, depending on the number of outstanding issues and how willing the parties are to negotiate and settle.
Where there is disagreement on some or all of the issues, both spouses enter into a “case management” process to discuss the outstanding issues in an attempt to streamline the proceedings.
Where no settlement is reached during the case management process, the divorce proceeds to a trial, where a judge will make a final order on any remaining issues in dispute. A divorce is subsequently granted and the process is complete.
The end of a marriage is always difficult and emotional. The experienced and compassionate divorce lawyer at NULaw can make the process easier by providing outstanding legal guidance and ensuring your interests and rights are protected so that you can focus on moving on with your life. Contact us online or at 416-481-5604 to book a consultation.