What are the grounds for divorce in Alberta?

On behalf of Gary Kirk of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in High Asset Divorce on Friday, April 3, 2015.

In Canada, there are three grounds for filing for divorce: adultery committed by the other party, mental or physical cruelty committed by the other party, and one-year separation of the spouses.

For the Court to accept adultery as grounds for divorce, the spouse who committed adultery will usually have to sign a sworn affidavit stating that, during the marriage, he or she had sexual intercourse with someone outside of the marriage. However, if the spouse refuses to sign such an affidavit, then it may be necessary to present other forms of evidence to the Court.

Likewise, for a divorce based on mental or physical cruelty, the Court may require proof of cruelty before finalizing the divorce.

If you intend to divorce on the basis of one-year separation, then special proof of separation is not necessarily required. You will, however, have to sign an affidavit stating that you and your spouse were separated. This document is signed at the time you apply for a divorce judgment.

Even if you and your spouse still live in the same home, then you may still be separated and apart, although you may have to prove that you were in fact living separately in the same residence if you make an application to the Court. A judge will then determine whether you were really separated for a year.

Keep in mind, too, that the one-year separation may include up to 90 days of reconciliation, and that you do not have to wait the full year before starting the divorce action. You do have to wait a year, though, before filing documents to finalize the divorce.

In Canada, most divorces are ultimately settled out of court, though it is important to have a family lawyer who can negotiate for a fair settlement inside and outside the courtroom. An experienced family lawyer can provide the guidance you need to reach a fair and comprehensive settlement.

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