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Navigating a Divorce During COVID-19 in Canada

If you have found yourself on the giving or receiving end of a divorce in 2020 you are not alone. Married couples in droves have decided that they have to begin the process of separating. Here is how to approach a divorce in Canada during COVID-19.

You’ve been quarantined with your spouse for two months. They left a wet towel on the floor. Again.

And just like that, your happy union is heading towards Divorce court. If you have found yourself on the giving or receiving end of a divorce in 2020 you are not alone. Married couples in droves have decided that they have to begin the process of separating, as soon as possible.

If you feel the crunch of time and money now that you’re navigating this new phase of your life, we at coSquare would like to offer you some insights into how to process might unfold. This is not legal advice, simply legal information that you might find helpful. If you have a question you need to ask our team, hop coSquare and ask your question. If you’re unsure where to start, begin with:

  1. What province am I separating in?
  2. Did either party act “physical or mental cruelty of such a kind as to render intolerable the continued cohabitation of the spouses” or commit adultery? According to the Divorce Act this or a separation of one year are the only ways to expediently end a marriage.

2020 set the standard for speedy decision making in times of crisis. Yet patience is demanded of those decide to dissolve their marriage by applying to court for a divorce. Prior to the pandemic, it could take months to schedule a family court appearance. The initial freezing of all non-essential activity set back many ongoing cases. Many provinces and territories are still struggling to relieve themselves of the impact of the backlog that began in April.

Normally even an uncontested divorce will take months to complete all the required paperwork. Depending on the nature of the conflict, it may take several years in court. Even if the parties believe that their conscious uncoupling will result in an uncontested divorce, a flexible approach and an open mind are key to your success.

After a couple decides they have terminated the relationship they must be separated for one year before a divorce can be completed. The only exceptions are those above: “adultery or physical or mental cruelty.”

Separated can be defined as living separate and apart, a definition that will surely be challenged by the “stay in place” orders throughout Covid lockdowns. However, by adopting a separate life (not cooking or eating together, sleeping in separate bedrooms) you can start taking steps towards your separation and moving on.


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