A Guide to Filing for Divorce in Nova Scotia

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It is strongly recommended that you get legal advice from a family law lawyer when you are thinking about getting a divorce. It is a good idea to get advice even if the divorce is uncontested and you and your spouse agree on everything. If you make a mistake with certain parts of your divorce, you may not be able to fix these mistakes once the divorce is final. For information on ways to find a lawyer and get legal advice, including free or low-cost options, click here.

WHO THIS GUIDE IS FOR

This guide is for people who are filing for a divorce in Nova Scotia and don’t have a lawyer, and are doing their own divorce paperwork. Divorce is the legal end to a marriage.

Generally, you can file for divorce in Nova Scotia if:

  • you are legally married and you want to permanently  end your marriage AND
  • either  you or your spouse has  lived in Nova Scotia for at least one year immediately before filing for divorce
    • this means that you or your spouse has to have lived in Nova Scotia for at least 12 full months at the time you file your divorce papers with the court

You DO NOT have to be a Canadian citizen to apply for a divorce in Canada.


A common law relationship is where two people, who are not married, live together in a 'marriage-like' relationship. This usually means that they share a home, and refer to themselves as spouses or partners, and share things like bills and other finances. If you are not legally married to your partner, the divorce process, and the information in this guide, does not apply to you. For information about separation for common law couples, click here.