To get a divorce in Canada, two individuals must first separate for a period of at least one year. While there is no legal requirement beyond agreeing on a separation date, many Canadians find it helpful to create a separation agreement to minimize the chances of disagreements down the road. The best way to be sure a deal is legally sound is to have it prepared with an experienced family law lawyer’s assistance.
What Is A Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is a lawfully binding contract that clarifies each party’s responsibilities between the separation date and the divorce. The primary of this contract is to avoid complicated issues in advance. Commonly addressed matters in separation agreements include child custody and access, property division, child support, and more.
The separation agreement must be written and signed by both parties, and the correct date and witnesses mentioned. After completion, the court will enforce the agreement should one party fail to live up to their end of the deal. In many cases, a judge will uphold an agreement, provided both parties agreed willingly.
What Is The Difference Between Separation And Divorce?
When it comes to dividing your matrimonial property, it depends on whether you’re separating or getting a divorce. Separation refers to when two persons living together as a married or common-law couple for a specific time period decide to live separately. In simple words, if you’re married and you choose to separate, it will not end your marriage. On the other hand, divorce refers to when a court ends a marriage officially.
Essential Considerations For A One Year Separation Period
Although there are no limitations on the time you can be separated in Canada, however, if you’re going to use separation as a basis for your divorce, you must separate yourself from your spouse for at least one whole year. You can also start your divorce process application when you are separated, but the court will not grant you the divorce until one year has passed.
Suppose during this time period, you both get back together. In that case, this adjustment will not alter your one year separation period unless you get back together once or multiple times, equal to a time period of more than 90 days. This gives couples a chance to repair their marriage without delaying a divorce if they aren’t successful at getting back together.
If you’re able to reconcile for a time period equal to or more than 90 days and then get separated again, you’ll need to start your one-year separation period all over again before the court grants you a divorce.
Finally, being isolated from your spouse does not necessarily mean that you must live at separate addresses. It means that you and your spouse must live independent lives. As far as the court is concerned, living at different addresses is the easiest way to prove this.
If separate addresses are not possible (due to finances, children, or any other reasons), both of you may live at the same address and still be considered separated. However, you’ll have to prove that both of you no longer lived as a couple while you were staying at the same address. This usually requires legal advice and representation of a dedicated divorce lawyer.
Peak Family Law is an experienced family law firm based in Edmonton, Alberta. We help couples reach suitable separation agreements throughout Edmonton and its surrounding areas. Contact us today for expert legal advice.