The Difference Between Canadian and US Divorce Laws

Dec 16, 2015
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Are you curious about the differences between divorce laws in Canada and those in the US? There are some differences between how we do things in the True North. Read on to learn the contrast between Canadian and US divorce laws.

The Definition of Divorce

One similarity between Canadian and American divorce laws is that the definition of divorce is the same.

A divorce takes place when a judge rules that a legally married couple is no longer married. After the judge dissolves the marriage, the former members of the couple are free to marry again.

Divorce Law in Canada

In Canada, divorce law is a federal issue. The Divorce Act came into effect in 1968, and was revised in 1985.

The Divorce Act details what the grounds for divorce are. It also determines the rules regarding spousal and child support as well as post-divorce parenting arrangements.

If the Divorce Act is federal legislation, do the provinces play a role at all in Canadian divorce? Yes, they do. When a couple divorces in Canada, the province bears responsibility for processing divorce applications, making decisions about spousal and child support as well as custody arrangements. Provincial law also applies in regards to property division. And the province, not the federal government, offers mediation services and parenting education.

Divorce Law in the US

Divorce is legal in all 50 states in the US. The main difference between Canadian divorce law and US divorce law is that there is no federal divorce law in the US.

Instead, each state has its own divorce laws. That means that the divorce laws in Pennsylvania aren’t exactly the same as its neighbour to the east, New Jersey. For example, the residency requirements for divorce in Pennsylvania are shorter than those in New Jersey – six months as opposed to a year. Another difference is that New Jersey recognizes same sex marriages, known as civil unions, and has a legal framework for their dissolution. Pennsylvania, at this point in time, does not recognize same sex marriages, and there is no divorce law applying to same sex couples.

Galbraith Family Law: Canadian Divorce Law Experts

Are you considering a divorce in Canada and need more information? Contact the legal professionals at Galbraith Family Law. Galbraith Family Law is a certified Collaborative Practice, and has been named the top firm in Barrie multiple times. Our legal insights have also been featured in the Globe and Mail, as well as Lawyers Weekly.

Click here to contact us, or to schedule a consultation.

About Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. Brian is known in the legal community for his commitment to efficiently practicing family law using technology and streamlining the divorce processes.