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How long must I be separated before I can divorce in Ontario?

Generally, in Ontario, for a divorce to be completed, the spouses must have been separated for at least a year. The divorce process can start before the year is up, but in most cases, the process is not completed until a year has passed. There are exceptions, however.

In cases involving adultery or domestic abuse, the divorce may be granted by the court at any point, but this expedited process typically requires help from a lawyer. The court may consider proof of adultery or abuse, whether it’s physical or verbal, and grant the divorce more quickly.

Something to keep in mind is that a year-long separation prior to the completion of the divorce is a significant amount of time during which a status quo can be established. Each party’s new situation could have an impact on the outcome of the divorce, especially if children are involved and one parent stayed in the matrimonial home while the other left.

To learn more about how staying in or leaving the family home could affect the divorce settlement, please visit our pages on matrimonial home topics.

The facts of every divorce case are different, and sometimes parties to a divorce must continue living in the same home while the case is processed. Understandably, this can be an extremely difficult situation, but a court may still consider the parties separated if there is proof that they no longer have a spousal relationship even as they continue living together.

A lawyer can clarify whether you and your spouse would be considered by the court to be separated. After all, postponing the separation could ultimately postpone the divorce settlement.

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