Many individuals use the terms separation and divorce interchangeably, however, these terms have very different legal significance. It is important for individuals to understand the difference between a separation and a divorce within the context of family law.
First and foremost, a separation does not transpire through a court application, rather it occurs when it is established that the relationship between two individuals has broken down.
Certain indicators can assist an individual in determining whether or not their relationship has broken down. These indicators include, but are not limited to, parties living separate and apart, parties no longer sharing a bedroom and parties having meals and performing separate household chores.
Once the parties have established, they are separated and wish to proceed to filing an Application for Divorce, there are first certain issues surrounding separation that must be dealt with immediately before a divorce can be granted. Some of the following issues are spousal support, child support,division of assets and sale of the matrimonial property.
Individuals can resolve these issues by negotiating the terms of their separation and having these terms drafted in a Separation Agreement. However, if parties cannot come to a consensus, parties may seek aid from the court in resolving the issues, i.e. a court order.
Divorce, unlike separation, cannot occur right away and is a complete dissolution of the marriage. Parties must be separated for one year before they are able to apply to the courts for a Divorce Order. Once the judge signs a Divorce Order, the parties are officially no longer married to each other. Once the Order is obtained parties may apply for a Divorce Certificate, which serves as proof of the divorce.
If you would like to learn more or have any questions about separation, divorce or other family law issues, you can call us at 905-281-4297 for a free consultation!