Separation and marriage breakdown

To start the divorce process, you must first be separated from your spouse. 

Separation is when two people who are married to each other are no longer considered to be together as a couple. You do not need your spouse’s permission to separate, and you do not need to file any documents with the government or the courts to be separated. The decision to end a relationship is a decision either spouse can make on their own.

When married couples separate, they may live in different homes, but a married couple who separates may also continue living in the same home to create stability for their children or because of financial reasons. Even though a married couple continues to live in the same home, they can still be considered separated if they no longer share daily activities. For example, the couple may sleep in separate rooms, make and eat meals separately, and no longer appear to family and friends as a couple. Whether or not you and your spouse are considered separated will depend on the facts of your situation. It is good to get legal advice about this issue if you have any questions about whether the court would consider you and your spouse to be separated.

If you both agree on the same separation date, then you do not need to give the court evidence of your separation date.

Although you do not need a court order to be separated, you DO need a court order to be divorced. A divorce does not happen automatically, no matter how long you are separated from your spouse. You always need to file paperwork with the court to get divorced.

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