When a married or common-law couple stops living together it is referred to as separation. There are no formal documents to file and a couple becomes separated the moment they either choose stop living together or a clear “intent” to become separated has been provided.
Courts are not involved in separations thus there truly are no “legal separations”.
The date of separation does need to be documented, so that future divorce proceedings can conclude the couple lived separated for more than 1 year, prior to a divorce application. Read through some of the definitive aspects of a divorce and of separation.
Once a couple is married, divorce is the only way to legally end the marriage. In British Columbia, the BC Supreme Court can help you file your documents, with or without the permission from your current spouse. “Marriage Breakdown” is the only legal reason to apply for divorce and requires 1 of these 3 aspects to be seen as legitimate:
- You have lived separately for your spouse for t least 1 year.
- An act of adultery was committed.
- Your spouse is treating you with clear signs of cruelty or abuse.
If you were married outside of Canada, you can still apply for divorce inside of BC. Proof of both marriage and a minimum of a 1-year residency in BC by you or your current spouse will be required. 3 documents recognised as proof of marriage are:
- A marriage certificate
- A marriage registration
- Certified copies of marriage documents.
Other countries have specific processes associated with divorce, though couples need to follow the Canadian divorce proceedings to be legally divorced inside of the country.
Divorce agreements outline various details regarding a couples legal and financial connections and issues revolving around the conclusion of the relationship. These agreements can be made at any time, not solely when the couple plans to separate. Agreements can be made to help solidify the terms of living together and can include ownership, financial responsibilities and more. Separation agreements outline various aspects of a separation, including childcare, living situations, asset separation, separation dates and more. Agreements can be made between spouses or with the help of a court of law.
When one partner is responsible for the financial well being of a couple, they may be due to payout spousal support upon separation. Spousal support aims to ease the loss of a shared income. If the departure of a spouse leads to a decline in the other spouse’s quality of life, spousal support may be due. If a couple cannot agree about support details, the issues can be addressed in court. The court assesses these six considerations when a spousal support application is filed:
- The career & household roles of the spouses.
- The duration of the marriage or common-law relationship.
- Individual financial abilities.
- If one spouse stayed home with young children.
- The wage gap between spouses.
- If the other spouse can make spousal payment.
In British Columbia, the provincial government can help ensure your receive your spousal support payments A free program called Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, work to help in situations where a spouse is refusing to make payments or is providing less than is due for payment.