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Canada Divorce Law

Divorce Laws in Canada

Canada divorce laws have maintained the traditional fault based grounds for divorce, which can include, but is not limited to, adultery, cruelty and separation for one year. Under this concept, you must have a valid reason for a divorce in Canada. However, a court order is not necessary in order to be considered separated. Separation is based on the intent of the parties. For example, both spouses may still reside in the same house but sleep in separate bedrooms.

Separation Agreement, Alimony & Property Division in Canada

Property division in Canada is typically based upon the provincial and territorial divorce laws in Canada. However, the majority of times, property is divided so that each spouse shall acquire a fair share of the marital estate, according to divorce laws in Canada. Separate property, or property acquired prior to the marriage, as well as all gifts and inheritances shall be retained by the owning spouse.

Spousal support, or alimony, is based upon “the condition, needs, means and other circumstances of each spouse…for whom the support is sought…” Such factors as the duration of the marriage as well as the prior living standard of the couple shall be considered. Martial misconduct may not be a factor.

A Separation Agreement is a written contract designed to protect the assets and rights of the spouses without a divorce. However, divorce will legally end a marriage and allow the spouses to remarry, whereas a separation agreement will not.

Canada Child Support, Child Visitation and Child Custody

The main focus in determining child custody is the best interest of the children, according to divorce laws in Canada.
Canada divorce law provides for “custody of, or access to, any or all children of the marriage to any one or more persons.” Additionally, split custody or joint custody is considered to be in the best interest of the children. Visitation rights are typically awarded to the non custodial parent.

Child support (a percentage of the non-custodial parents’ income paid to assist with the support of his children) is governed and enforced by the separate laws of each providence and territory. However, typically child maintenance can include a lump sum or periodic payments for a definite or indefinite amount of time.