How to Get a Divorce: Six Things You Will Need to Do

Author: Vancouver Family Lawyer Marcus M. Sixta

Once the decision has been made to end a marriage many people want to know how quickly they can get divorced. A divorce is a court order that legally ends a marriage. Unmarried spouses do not need to get divorced. In Canada, the Divorce Act governs the requirements for all divorces. 

There are a few basic requirements that must be met to apply for a divorce. If you want to get a divorce you must meet each of these criteria before a divorce can be granted by the Court:

  1. You or your spouse must be resident in the province in which you are applying for a divorce for more than one year before the commencement of the divorce proceedings.

  2. In most cases, spouses need to be separated for more than one year before divorce can be granted. That is because one of three criteria must be met before the Court can grant a divorce. 1) Spouses must have been separated for more than one year (the most common criteria used), or you must prove that there has been 2) adultery or 3) mental or physical cruelty. These last two grounds rarely used, mainly because it is very difficult, time consuming and expensive to prove adultery or cruelty unless the person who committed the adultery or cruelty will admit to it in a sworn Affidavit that is filed with the Court.

  3. If you were married in Canada, you will be required to obtain an original copy of your government issued marriage certificate and the certificate will be filed with the Court. A Certificate from the Church you were married in will not be accepted by the Court. If you were married outside of Canada, you can still get divorced in Canada as long as you were married in accordance with the requirements for marriage in that country.

  4. You need to know where your spouse is located because you will need to have them personally served with copies of the Court documents. If you are unable to personally serve your spouse the lawyers at Crossroads Law can assist you with getting a Court Order for an alternative method of service like email.

  5. Before a divorce can be granted the “corollary relief” must be agreed to. This means if you have children you must have made an agreement for parenting/custody and child support that is in line with the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Spousal support must also be agreed to or waived. This Agreement either needs to be filed with the Court or the terms of agreement must be set out in your Divorce Judgment.

  6. If your divorce is uncontested (meaning that both spouses agree to the divorce) both spouses will need to sign the Divorce Judgment indicating his or her consent. This type of divorce is also called a “desk order divorce” and it means that neither spouse has to appear before the Court for the divorce to be granted. If your spouse does not consent, you will need to have your application for divorce heard by a Justice for your divorce to be granted.

An application for divorce can be started anytime after separation, but the divorce cannot be processed until after the period of being separate and apart for one year. Processing time depends on your local court.

If you are getting a divorce, contact the lawyers at Crossroads Law. We have extensive experience filing divorce applications on both contested and uncontested basis. We also provide divorce filing for uncontested divorces at the rate of $899 plus GST and disbursements* and guarantee that your divorce will be filed or your money back.

*Does not include filing fees at your local court house or the costs of serving your spouse with documents if they refuse to attend at our office to pick them up


For more information or assistance with child support orders and how to change them contact the Calgary family lawyers at Crossroads law for your free consultation, or try our free Child Support Calculator to help determine what your child support payments should be anywhere in Canada.


The information contained in this blog is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject. The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only.