The Meaning Of The Term Divorce

When I initially meet people, they often have a misunderstanding of what an actual divorce is. A divorce is granted by a judge and it terminates the civil marriage between two persons.

It doesn’t necessarily deal with those issues that people are usually concerned about: for example custody, access, child support, spousal support, or property division. Those issues are dealt with separately from the actual divorce either by way of a separation agreement, an arbitration award or a court order. You must separate from your spouse for at least one year before you can obtain a divorce order, but you can still try to settle your substantive issues like custody and support and property division while waiting for the one-year time period to come around.

There are two other grounds for divorce: adultery and cruelty. But before attempting to obtain a divorce on one of those grounds, I strongly recommend that you speak to a lawyer first. Even if these grounds are present, they’re rarely used. The problem is you have to prove them and this can quickly become a complicated and expensive exercise. Unless you’re in a real rush to get remarried for which you require a divorce, it might be best to just wait for that year to come around, even if you feel that you can prove adultery or cruelty. And often, the reality is, whether someone committed adultery once or several times, it’s not going to have any impact on the property division or support that ends up being paid. It’s very rare that it comes into play unless the conduct of the other spouse in some way affects the children. It does not have any effect on the income that individual has earned or the property that was accumulated during the relationship that’s available for division.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with family law issues in York Region, Durham Region or Toronto, contact Feldstein Family Law Group for a consultation.

This article is taken from a November 14, 2008 interview with Michael Wilson, Family Lawyer with Feldstein Family Law Group, a Toronto Ontario Family Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.