What is the Process of Divorce in Canada? - Zukerman Law

What is the Process of Divorce in Canada?

Divorce is a difficult and emotional experience, and navigating the legal process can add to the stress. If you’re considering divorce in Canada, understanding the steps involved can help you feel more prepared and in control. This blog post will serve as your guide, providing a clear and concise overview of the divorce process in Canada.
Whether you’ve recently separated or are still contemplating your options, this information will equip you with the knowledge you need to confidently move forward. Understanding the legal framework and steps involved allows you to make informed decisions and ensure a smoother transition during this challenging time.

Criteria for Divorce in Canada

Criteria for Divorce in Canada

To file for divorce in Canada, you must meet certain criteria as outlined in the Divorce Act, the federal law governing divorce matters. Here are the requirements:

  • You and your spouse must be legally married, either in Canada or in another country.
  • At least one of you must have lived in Canada for at least one year immediately before filing for divorce.
  • At least one spouse must intend for the separation to be permanent, with no hope of reconciliation.

A court will grant a divorce even if one spouse does not wish to divorce. However, a court may refuse to grant a divorce if proper child support arrangements are not in place before the divorce is finalized.

The Divorce Process in Canada

The Divorce Process in Canada

While every situation is unique, there are common steps involved in filing either a contested or uncontested divorce in Canada. These steps remain consistent regardless of the specific circumstances of each case.
However, the time needed to finalize the process can vary based on how quickly disputes between spouses are settled. If the issues are complex or one or both parties are uncooperative, resolving these matters will take longer and increase the associated costs.

1- Decide to Divorce and Separate from Your Spouse

The first step is making the definitive decision to divorce. This involves a physical and emotional separation from your spouse. During this period, you should consider living arrangements, informing family and friends, and beginning to navigate your new life apart.

2- Obtain the Appropriate Divorce Application Forms

Each province and territory in Canada has its own specific set of divorce forms. These can be obtained through various sources such as a lawyer, bookstore, court office, or a family law information center. Ensure you have the correct forms for your jurisdiction to avoid any procedural delays.

3- Determine Your Grounds for Filing for Divorce

Next, you need to decide whether you are filing for a no-fault or fault divorce.
No-fault divorce: This requires a one-year period of separation where you and your spouse live apart with no intention of reconciliation.
Fault divorce: These are based on grounds such as adultery or cruelty. You will need to provide evidence to support your claims, making it essential to research thoroughly and consider legal representation to guide you through this complex process.

4- Determine If Your Divorce Is Contested or Uncontested

Your divorce can be either contested or uncontested, and this distinction must be specified in your application.
Uncontested divorce: Both partners agree on the reasons and terms of the divorce. This requires only one application.
Contested divorce: The spouses do not agree on the reasons or terms, necessitating each spouse to file a separate divorce application. This can lead to a more complicated and lengthy process.

5- Outline Parenting Agreements If Children Are Involved

If there are children involved, you must include details about your parenting agreement, custody arrangements, and child support.
Contested divorce: Each spouse will submit their preferences and proposals for parenting.
Uncontested divorce: Simply outline the agreed-upon arrangements. Ensuring that the best interests of the child are considered is crucial, and this often requires careful planning and negotiation.

6- File the Divorce Application

File the completed divorce application at the courthouse in your province or territory, or through your lawyer. Each region has different fees and specific formalities that must be followed. The court clerk or your lawyer can guide you through these requirements to ensure everything is filed correctly.

7- Wait for Clearance from the Divorce Registry

Once your application is filed, you must wait for clearance from the Divorce Registry in Ottawa. During this time, adhere to court procedures and rules. After serving the divorce papers to your spouse, they have 30 days to respond. This period is crucial for preparing your case and ensuring all legal protocols are followed.

8- Set Down Your Divorce with the Court

If your spouse does not respond within the 30-day period, you can proceed by submitting your Affidavit for Divorce, Divorce Order, and Clerk’s Certificate to the court. This step formally sets down your divorce for a decision by the judge.

9- Await the Court’s Decision

A judge will review all submitted materials and, if satisfied, will issue a Divorce Order. This step involves careful examination of all evidence and agreements to ensure that the divorce terms are fair and legally sound.

10- Obtain Your Certificate of Divorce

Thirty days after the Divorce Order is granted, you can obtain your Certificate of Divorce. Only then will you be legally divorced and entitled to remarry. This certificate is the final legal document confirming the dissolution of your marriage.

Navigate Divorce with Zukerman Law Group Expert Guidance

Navigate Divorce with Zukerman Law Group Expert Guidance

Divorce can be a daunting and complex process, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. Zukerman Law Group offers unparalleled expertise and compassionate support to help you through every step of your divorce. Our experienced family law attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights, securing your future, and ensuring the best possible outcomes for you and your family.
With a deep understanding of the intricacies of divorce law in Canada, Zukerman Law Group provides personalized legal strategies tailored to your unique situation. Whether you’re dealing with issues of child custody, support, or property division, our team is committed to guiding you with professionalism and care. Trust Zukerman Law Group to be your steadfast ally during this challenging time, helping you move forward with confidence and peace of mind.
Contact Zukerman Law Group today for a consultation, and let us help you navigate your divorce with expert care.


Navigating the divorce process in Canada can be complex and emotionally taxing, but understanding the steps involved can help you approach it with greater confidence and clarity. From deciding to divorce and obtaining the necessary forms to finalizing the process and receiving your Certificate of Divorce, each step requires careful consideration and adherence to legal requirements. Seeking professional guidance, such as the expert support offered by Zukerman Law Group, can ensure your rights are protected and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation.


  • 1- How long does it take to get a divorce in Canada?1

    Generally, a straightforward divorce can be finalized within 4 to 6 months, accounting for matters like custody hearings and property division. However, contested and more complex divorces that require courtroom litigation may take significantly longer to resolve.

  • 2- Who pays for divorce in Canada?1

    Canadian family law mandates that spouses with more money may be required to pay an interim disbursement, which is used to cover divorce lawyers and related fees, to ensure a fair trial.

  • 3- What does a wife get after divorce in Canada?1

    When a marriage ends, each spouse is entitled to half the value of the property gained during the marriage, not half the property itself. This is done by calculating the Net Family Property (NFP) of each spouse, with the spouse having the higher NFP paying half the difference to the other spouse.

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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.