We get a lot of questions about the grounds for divorce in Ontario.
Under the Divorce Act, there is only one basic ground for divorce: the irreparable breakdown of a marriage. To apply for a divorce, you will need to show that your marriage has broken down in one of the following ways:
• You have been living separately for at least a year
• Your spouse has committed adultery
• Your spouse has mentally or physically abused you
Separation as grounds for divorce
To use separation as grounds for divorce in Ontario, you need to prove that you have lived apart for one year. If you cannot afford to live separately, you will still be able to file for divorce on the grounds of separation.
However, you must be able to prove that the marriage-like quality of your relationship has ended. You need to also prove that you have stopped attending family events together, doing chores for each other and so forth.
Once separated, you’re free to try to reconcile at any time within the one-year separation period. However, you will only be able to live together for a total of 90 days or less. If you live together for more than 90 days, your one-year period of separation must start all over again.
Adultery as grounds for divorce
To use adultery as grounds for divorce, you will need to prove that your spouse has had sex with someone else. You also need to prove that you cannot tolerate living with your spouse as a result of his or her actions. Usually, your spouse will openly admit to committing adultery. However, if they contest your allegations, you will have to provide evidence. This may be witness testimonies, in support of your accusations.
Mental or physical abuse as grounds for divorce
To use abuse as grounds for divorce in Ontario, you will need to prove that your spouse has physically. Or prove they mentally abused you and that their behaviour has made it impossible for you to continue living together. In your petition, you will need to set out a number of allegations against your spouse.
If you wish to seek a divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty, it may be difficult to provide evidence in support of your allegations. Unless you have an extreme case. This would involve numerous allegations and several witnesses.
Starting your divorce application
To end your marriage, you must fill out a divorce application and file it in court. It is always advisable for you to obtain legal advice before you apply for a divorce.
A divorce lawyer in Ontario (especially a Newmarket divorce lawyer) will advise you on your rights and responsibilities.
Ideally, you and your spouse agree on major issues, such as property and parenting, before you file. If you cannot agree on these issues, the court will have to make these decisions on your behalf. This may mean that your divorce takes longer to finalize.