Although the divorce rate has dropped in recent years, 38% of marriages in Canada end in divorce.
If you and your spouse are having problems, you might be thinking about a Canadian divorce yourself. But it’s not an easy decision to make, and there are so many factors to consider.
What will happen to your shared debts and family income? Who and what determines child custody arrangements? What about your family home?
We’ll dive into those important topics and more, so keep reading!
Who Qualifies for Canadian Divorce?
As long as you (or your spouse) have lived in Canada as residents for at least one year, you can seek a divorce. It does not matter where you’re from or where your marriage took place.
What about common-law marriage? While Canada does recognize this arrangement, child custody and property rights are often unclear in the event of a breakup.
What Are the Legal Requirements for a Divorce in Canada?
Canadian law states that you qualify for a divorce if you can prove that your marriage has broken down.
The main requirement is that you and your spouse have lived “separate and apart” for at least one year. This mandatory period of separation serves as proof that your marriage is no longer functional.
Of course, not every couple who seeks a divorce has been living apart for a year. This period of separation is not required if you can prove one of the following things:
- Your spouse committed adultery with someone else, or
- Your spouse was physically or mentally abusive
It’s important to note that filing for divorce under one of these two grounds is often more costly and takes longer to finalize. Couples who have already lived apart for at least a year typically have a faster and more affordable divorce process.
Do I Need a Divorce Lawyer?
Although it’s not legally required, hiring a divorce lawyer could be advantageous.
If you’re concerned about child custody, real estate, shared debts, or if you and your spouse can’t be civil with each other, a lawyer can be the neutral third party you need. They’ll also have in-depth knowledge of Canadian divorce law and can help you seek the most favorable outcome.
How Does Child Custody Work?
A lot of people believe that mothers are always favored in divorce proceedings, but that’s not true. Most courts seek to make a decision that’s in the best interest of the child or children.
The court will take the following circumstances into consideration:
- The parent-child relationship with each parent
- Each parent’s mental, emotional, and physical health
- The schedules of each parent and child
- The financial status of each parent
- Available support from extended family members
- The wishes of each child
If you have children, a divorce lawyer can be an invaluable aid in negotiating the best child custody arrangement for everyone involved.
Is Divorce the Answer for You?
It’s not an easy decision to make, especially if children are involved. Before you make any big decisions, keep educating yourself about Canadian divorce laws and procedures.
That way, you can make the best decision for yourself and your family.
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