When can I get divorced?

For many people, the thought of having to go through a divorce is a traumatic and sad occasion. For others the relationship is so clearly over that the first question we get asked is ‘when can I get divorced already?’

The answer, in typical lawyer fashion, is “it depends.” In all likelihood, after one year of separation.

Before a court will grant a divorce it has to satisfy itself of two factors. That 1) there has been no collusion between the parties and, 2) that reasonable arrangements have been made for the support of any children of the marriage.

Ideally property division would also be addressed but if we are talking about the fastest time to get divorced, those are the two required elements.

Therefore, provided there has been no collusion between the married couple AND arrangements for any children have been made, the couple are able to divorce as soon as one of the grounds for divorce are established. Those grounds are:

  1. That the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year; or
  2. One party has committed adultery; or
  3. One party has treated the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty.

If adultery or physical/mental cruelty are established, the divorce could be completed as soon as arrangements for any children have been made. If there are no children of the marriage, the divorce could be granted immediately.

There is one difficulty with this approach, and it’s the reason that I say that in most cases the earliest the divorce can be granted is after one year of separation: the other party has to admit the adultery or their physical or mental cruelty.

Although it is a valid ground for a divorce, in the absence of an admission by the party who committed adultery, or subjected the other to physical or mental cruelty, the person bringing the divorce still has to prove their allegation. That may require a lengthy and costly court hearing that is unlikely to be concluded within a year.

Unless there are very good reasons why it’s important to have the divorce granted on the basis of adultery or physical/mental cruelty, in all likelihood, waiting for the one-year separation mark will still be the quickest option.

The divorce proceedings can still be commenced much sooner though. It’s just the application for the final divorce judgment that has to wait on that one-year mark. In fact, there are often many advantages to commencing the proceedings well in advance of one-year’s separation. It can take time to finalise issues of support and property division, and important discussions to try to finalise those matters can therefore take place in the meantime.

If you are looking to assess your options and discuss the possibility of starting separation proceedings, we can help you get some clarity.

Article by Paul Manning

Disclaimer :

Although we are a law firm, this blog post does not constitute legal advice. It is for informational or entertainment purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as financial or legal advice of any kind. You should consult with a lawyer before relying on any of the information contained in this blog post. We can be contacted at (403) 981 0700 to set up a consultation with one of our lawyers who can review the specific circumstances of your matter and provide you with personalised legal advice.