Close this search box.


Examining divorce requirements and the application process

Ontario couples who are seeking a divorce may be interested in some information about what requirements must be met before ending a marriage. In addition to the marriage issues, the application requirements can be different depending on the filing location.
Generally, three requirements must be met before a couple can get a divorce. First, they must be legally married, either under Canada’s laws or under those of a country whose marriages are recognized by Canada. Second, the couple must have lived for a full year prior to the application date in the province where they are filing for divorce. Lastly, the marriage must have broken down beyond repair.
The federal Divorce Act requires that one of three things must have occurred in order to show this breakdown of the marriage. Either the couple must have lived apart for at least a year, one of the spouses has shown physical or mental cruelty to the other, or one of the spouses must have committed adultery. In some cases, even spouses living in the same residence may be considered separated, however.
While divorce is generally governed by the Divorce Act, each province and territory has the responsibility for the specific divorce process. The necessary forms may differ between provinces, but these forms are usually available either on the local Ministry of Justice’s website or at a court or bookstore. Each court has particular rules for the filing and a fee must generally accompany the application. A lawyer may be helpful in determining whether a divorcing couple meets the requirements and ensuring that the proper forms are filed. The lawyer may then represent one of the parties during the process, including the negotiation of a divorce agreement. This can include such issues as child custody and spousal and child support payments.
Source: Canada Department of Justice, “How to Apply for a Divorce“, August 07, 2014