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Divorce can be a difficult and emotionally challenging experience for anyone. However, it is important to understand the legal process and your rights if you are considering a divorce or have already begun the process. In Canada, divorce is governed by Divorce Act, which sets out the rules and procedures for ending a marriage.

This article provides an overview of divorce law in Canada, including grounds for divorce, property division, and decision-making responsibility and parenting time.

Grounds For Divorce

In Canada, there is only one ground for divorce: the breakdown of the marriage. However, there are three ways in which this can be proven: separation, adultery, or cruelty.

  • Separation: A couple is considered to have separated when they are no longer living together as a couple, and at least one of them has the intention to end the marriage. In Canada, the minimum period of separation before a divorce can be granted is one year.
  • Adultery: Adultery occurs when one spouse has had sexual intercourse with someone other than their spouse. It is important to note that adultery must be proven, and it cannot be used as a ground for divorce if the spouses have lived together for more than 90 days after the adultery was discovered.
  • Cruelty: Cruelty refers to any physical or mental abuse that makes it intolerable for one spouse to continue living with the other. This can include physical violence, verbal abuse, and emotional manipulation. Cruelty must be proven to obtain a divorce on these grounds.

It is worth noting that Canada has a “no-fault” divorce system, which means that the reason for the breakdown of the marriage is not taken into account when dividing property or determining decision-making responsibility and parenting time. However, if there are allegations of adultery or cruelty, these can have an impact on these issues.

Property Division

In Canada, property division is governed by provincial law, which means that the rules may differ depending on where you live. However, there are some general principles that apply across the country.

Under Canadian law, when a couple divorces, their property is divided equally, regardless of who owns it or who paid for it. This includes both assets (such as real estate, bank accounts, and investments) and debts (such as credit card balances and mortgages).

There are some exceptions to the equal division of property, such as gifts and inheritances received by one spouse, as well as property that was owned by one spouse before the marriage. However, even in these cases, the increase in value of the property during the marriage may be subject to division.

It is important to note that the equal division of property only applies to married couples. Common-law couples (who have lived together for a certain period of time, depending on the province) do not have the same property rights upon separation or death.

Decision-Making Responsibility And Parenting Time

When a couple with children divorces, the best interests of the children are the primary consideration in determining Decision-making responsibility and parenting time.

The following factors might be taken into consideration:

  • The age and needs of the children;
  • The capability parents to care for the children;
  • The relationship between the children and the parents;
  • The parents’ willingness to facilitate the children’s relationship with the other parent; and
  • Any history of family violence.

There are different types of child decision-making responsibility and parenting time arrangements that may be ordered by the court, including:

  • Sole decision-making responsibility and parenting time: One parent has the right to make all decisions regarding the children’s upbringing.
  • Joint decision-making responsibility and parenting time: Both parents share the responsibility for making major decisions regarding the children’s upbringing.
  • Shared decision-making responsibility and parenting time: The children spend a significant amount of time with each parent.

Our Expert Lawyers Can Guide You

For more information on child support complexities, please get in touch with our Family Lawyers at Ayaz Mehdi Professional Corporation

Disclaimer:  Kindly note that sending or receiving information through this site does not establish a solicitor-client relationship. Legal matters are fact-specific, and the law is variably changing. The views expressed and the content provided on this blog are general guidelines and cannot substitute for proper legal advice. Schedule your legal consultation by clicking here: Let’s meet!

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