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Know Your Grounds for Online Divorce in Canada

Know Your Grounds for Online Divorce in Canada

While you may be certain your marriage is headed for divorce, you should familiarize yourself with the grounds for online divorce in Canada.

Acceptable Grounds for Divorce in Canada and Their Requirements

The Divorce Act applies to couples who are or were married. If you and your unmarried partner split, the BC Family Law applies.

Because the Divorce Act is Federal, it applies to all provinces and territories of Canada. While the Act changed on March 1, 2021, there are still three acceptable grounds for divorce:

1. Cruelty

Types of domestic abuse include physical, sexual, emotional, and financial.

If you choose to file for divorce claiming physical or mental cruelty as the grounds, your circumstances must be “of such a kind as to render intolerable the continued cohabitation of the spouses.” This type of application for divorce is far more than mere incompatibility and always goes to court.

While the updated Act now stipulates what factors - including the impact of family violence - must be considered when debating best interests of a child, the party initiating the divorce application on the grounds of cruelty bears the burden of proof which can be tough, time consuming, and emotionally draining. It also incurs greater fees.

2. Adultery

What adultery is, in the eyes of Ontario courts:

  • Physical sexual interaction between an unfaithful spouse and a third party before the application is commenced. Once is enough, it does not have to have been a relationship.
  • Admission of extramarital sex by the Respondent in the form of signed affidavits. If none is forthcoming, the Applicant will need convincing evidence to prove infidelity.

What adultery is not:

  • Suspicion of an affair without a written admission or concrete proof.
  • Emotional affairs and/or "telephone sex".
  • Gender specific. Either party of a heterosexual or same-sex marriage can start the divorce process.

3. Living Separate and Apart

Divorce orders related to “for-fault divorces” are fairly uncommon. More often than not, Toronto divorces are on the grounds of separation where the parties have been living separately and apart for at least a year.

This does not necessarily mean residing at different addresses. Parties may live under the same roof but are living separate and apart in that they sleep in their own bedrooms and do not have meals or attend social events together. There are also provisions for attempted reconciliations within the separation period.

As you will need to live separately for a year before applying for a divorce under these grounds, a good use of that time would be to work out your separation agreement.

This vital piece of divorce paperwork sets out conclusions regarding negotiations about:

In terms of saving time, money, and stress, make the effort to negotiate an uncontested divorce. In doing so, you can join the 75% of spouses in Toronto who represent themselves in Family Court. The ongoing disagreements and disputes of a contested divorce requires that divorce lawyers and attorneys be retained.

Other Valid Considerations

While you may be certain your marriage is headed for divorce, you can't apply for a divorce until you know what grounds you are divorcing in Ontario.

Because Canada has a “No-Fault” divorce system, there is no need for an Applicant to prove the Respondent did anything wrong. Unless there is extreme enough behavior to warrant concern about the impact it has on children, Canadian divorce courts do not punish people for matrimonial wrongdoings. It makes sense then to avoid costly legal battles proving your partner is wrong if there is even a remote chance you can say yes to a simple divorce.

SplitEasy is the only affordable on-line divorce service in Canada that customizes your divorce forms within 72 hours. Contact us to find out how to save money, avoid inconvenience, and simplify your divorce process.