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Grounds For Divorce Under Canada’s Divorce Act


If you are considering filing for divorce, one of the initial considerations is determining the grounds for ending your marriage. You might have many specific reasons, but the important factors for purposes of legal proceedings are stated in the Canada Divorce Act. To start, there is just one statutory ground that gives the court power to grant a divorce: There has been a breakdown of the marriage. However, establishing this basis in court, and going through the proper legal process requires in-depth knowledge of the details.

Within the concept of a marital breakdown, the law lists three distinct reasons that must be stated when filing initial paperwork for divorce. These will affect your strategy and timing. Plus, keep in mind that the grounds for divorce may be an issue when you are the respondent – i.e., the party who receives the divorce paperwork. An Ontario divorce lawyer will help you navigate the legal challenges, but a summary is useful.

Three Grounds for Divorce in Canada: The Divorce Act lists three different ways a person can state that there has been a breakdown of the marital relationship. You must allege the following facts:

  1. Your spouse has committed adultery since the wedding date.
  2. Your spouse treated you with extreme physical or mental cruelty, such that it would be intolerable to continue living together.
  3. You have lived separate and apart for at least one year.

There are two conditions to keep in mind with respect to the timing for the one year in a divorce based upon separation. You must be living separately when initiating divorce, meaning the date that you file your paperwork. In addition, you must have been living apart for at least a year prior to the court granting divorce. There is an allowance for periods of 90 days or less, whether or not the days are consecutive.

 Separation as Grounds for Divorce: There is no waiting period when filing for divorce based upon adultery or cruelty, but the one-year separation period will affect your timing. You can use this requirement to your advantage, since you can begin the one year’s wait before filing – as long as you are not cohabitating on the date that you file. This means you have the opportunity to resolve many divorce issues before your case even begins, ideally reaching an agreement on property division, alimony, and child custody.

One option to consider with strategy is to file for divorce when you are several months into the separation period. Then, you can file for divorce and finalize the case shortly thereafter, as long as you agree. Contested hearings are more time-consuming.

Consult with a Mississauga, ON Divorce Lawyer to Learn More

The grounds for divorce may not seem like a major issue, but you can see that there are some important factors to consider. To learn more, please contact Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP. Individuals in Mississauga, Brampton and the Peel Region can call 905-232-0398 or visit our website. We can schedule a free consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer who will explain the process.



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