Questions to Ask Lawyer About Separation in Canada - Zukerman Law

Questions to Ask Lawyer About Separation in Canada

In Canada, the legal process of separation involves several important steps and considerations that can significantly impact your future. Whether you are contemplating separation or are already in the midst of it, having a clear understanding of your legal rights and obligations is crucial.
Seeking professional legal advice is essential to ensure that your interests are protected and that you make informed decisions throughout the separation process. This is where the expertise of a skilled family law firm, such as Zukerman Law Group, becomes invaluable.
With years of experience and a dedicated team of legal professionals, Zukerman Law Group is committed to providing personalized and compassionate support to individuals and families facing separation.
In this blog, we will explore the essential questions you should ask your lawyer when considering separation in Canada. From understanding the legal grounds for separation to addressing financial considerations and custody arrangements, these questions will help you navigate this challenging time with confidence and clarity.

Important Questions To Ask Your Divorce Lawyer

Important Questions To Ask Your Divorce Lawyer

1. How Long Will It Take to Get Divorced?

Clients often worry that the divorce process will be prolonged, stressful, and contentious. We prioritize collaborative family law to foster a cooperative environment between the parties.
In general, when both parties are willing to cooperate, the process can be faster.
It’s important to understand that there are three possible grounds for divorce:

  • Separation for a period of one year
  • Adultery
  • Cruelty

Most of our clients choose the one-year separation route. The spouses must live separately for at least one year to obtain a Divorce Judgment. However, the divorce action can be initiated at any time after separation, even before the one-year period is up.

2. What is the Difference Between Separation and Divorce?

Separation refers to physical separation from a spouse, while divorce is the legal termination or dissolution of a marriage. Separation agreements can be created in Canada to address separation issues.
A divorce requires completing the necessary documentation, obtaining a divorce order from the court, and hiring a family law attorney to handle the divorce proceedings. In some cases, a separation agreement can be created to separate individuals from their spouses. It is crucial to choose the right attorney for both situations.

3. How Long Do You Have to Live Apart to be Separated?

In Canada, there is no minimum duration required to count as separated. Separation occurs when one or both parties decide to live apart. For a divorce, you generally need to live separately for at least one year. If you reconcile for 90 days, the separation period resets. Separation can also occur while living in the same house, although this arrangement is often more challenging.

4. Can I Change the Terms of the Separation Agreement?

Including an amendment clause in your separation agreement allows you to modify its terms later. Both spouses must agree to and sign this amendment. If your spouse disagrees, you must apply to the court for changes, which should be based on significant circumstances.
For instance, you might request a change if you’re relocating and want your child to move with you. Consulting a separation lawyer in Canada will provide the best guidance for these situations.

5. Do I Need a Separation Agreement?

One of the key questions to ask a lawyer about separation in Canada is whether you need a Separation Agreement. While not required, a Separation Agreement is highly recommended to establish the terms of your separation and protect both parties’ rights.
For married couples, divorce proceedings will address property division, support, and parenting responsibilities. For cohabitating couples, a Separation Agreement is essential to document your wishes and safeguard your rights.

6. Do I Need to Go to Court for a Separation?

No, you don’t have to go to court if you and your ex-partner agree on the issues. You can document your agreements in a Separation Agreement. It’s advisable to have an experienced family lawyer review your document to ensure it is fair to you and your family. If you cannot reach an agreement, you can opt for family law mediation or have the court make the decision.

7. Can I Stay in My Home After Separation?

Maybe. This is where it gets a bit more complicated. Property division is a key distinction between divorce and separation. When a married or common-law couple separates, three issues need to be addressed: who lives in the home, who owns the home, and how the home’s value is shared.

For married couples legally separating, both spouses are entitled to live in the family home. In common-law relationships, the general rule is that the property owner keeps the property. This means if one partner owns the home, they can continue living there. However, if both partners have jointly contributed to the home, you may have the rights to share in its value upon separation.


Separation is a significant life event that comes with emotional and legal complexities. Asking the right questions and seeking professional legal advice are crucial steps in navigating this challenging time. Understanding the legal grounds for separation, addressing financial considerations, and making informed custody decisions can help you better manage the process.

Having a trusted legal partner like Zukerman Law Group can make all the difference. With extensive experience and a compassionate approach, Zukerman Law Group provides the support and guidance you need to achieve a fair and favorable outcome. Whether through negotiation, mediation, or litigation, their dedicated team is committed to protecting your interests.

If you are considering separation or need assistance with family law matters, contact Zukerman Law Group today. Schedule a consultation to discuss your case and explore how their expertise can help you move forward with confidence


  • 1- What are the rules for separation in Canada?1
    • Living Apart: Must live separately and apart for at least one year.
    • Separation Agreement: Recommended to outline terms of separation.
    • Child Custody and Support: Must follow Federal Child Support Guidelines.
    • Spousal Support: May be entitled based on various factors.
    • Division of Property: Typically equal, but can be adjusted.
    • Pension and Benefits: Subject to division as marital property.
  • 2- How do you prove you are separated in Canada?1

    It’s important to understand that in Canada, there is no formal process for declaring oneself “legally separated.” Once you and your spouse begin living “separate and apart” with the intention of ending the relationship, you are considered separated.

  • 3- What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in Canada?1

    In a divorce in Canada, a wife is entitled to specific rights and considerations, including an equitable share of marital property, possible spousal support, and participation in child custody arrangements. The process includes legal negotiations, financial adjustments, and emotional challenges.

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Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.