separation vs divorce hamilton

Separation vs Divorce

Separation and divorce are two related legal processes that involve the dissolution of a relationship. Most often, a separation agreement will precede a legal divorce. In Ontario, the law states that a divorce can only be obtained when a couple has been separated for at least one year (barring other recognized grounds).

Both a separation and divorce are legally binding and can provide for property division, child custody and access, and support obligations. Whether parties are separated or divorced, they will typically require legal assistance to ensure they receive the protection and legal rights they are entitled to.


A separation is typically the first step in the dissolution of a marriage. A separation occurs when two people who are married, common-law (living together for at least three years) decide to end their relationship.

A separation begins automatically when parties begin to live separately and there is no expectation that they will resume the relationship or cohabitation. In most cases, a separation agreement will be signed. A separation agreement is the most common way to deal with issues regarding equalization of property and child custody and access. A separation agreement is also key in situations where the spouses are still cohabitating due to circumstance but beginning to separate their affairs.

In most cases, divorce proceedings can only begin when a couple has been legally separated for one year and can demonstrate so. It should be noted that a separation agreement does not end the marriage, and that a formal divorce is required. A separation agreement is beneficial for ensuring rights and responsibilities are clearly laid out to both parties in the separation phase.


A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. It can be obtained by the courts when the parties can demonstrate a breakdown of the marriage. This is usually obtained by demonstrating the couple has been separated for a year or more, but there are also other circumstances that can prove this.

If adultery or cruelty can be proved by one or both parties, a divorce may be granted without the one year separation.

The granting of a divorce can have serious implications in terms of the parties’ ability to seek certain relief, particularly with respect to the division of property.

A Good Family Lawyer Makes the Difference

If you’re considering a separation or need more information about divorces and custody in Ontario, Vandeputte Law can help. We have the experience and abilities necessary to help guide you through these processes and find the best solution for you. We know this can be a difficult and emotional time, and take care to ensure that your well-being is the priority throughout the process.

If you need more information on divorce, separation, or other family law matters, contact Vandeputte Law. We will help you navigate your rights and find the best solution for you and your family.

Contact us today.

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