Automatic Divorce After Long Separation in Canada

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Is there automatic divorce after a long separation in Canada? Or can I appeal for a divorce after taking a long break from my spouse?

Well, you can definitely appeal for a divorce after a long separation. But, according to Canadian laws, a long separation doesn’t result in automatic divorce in Canada.

However, there are some exceptions where a long break can be the ultimate reason for automatic divorce.

Seems confusing? Let’s break down the entire concept of the long separation divorce to clarify all your doubts:

Are Separation and Divorce the Same Thing in Canada?

Separation and divorce are two different things according to Canadian law. A separation is when two people who live together as a married or common-law partner make the decision to live apart. If the couple is legally married, then the decision to live separately doesn’t end the marriage.

On the other hand, divorce is the formal method of terminating a marriage. For divorce, the couple has to go to court and follow all the legal works and formalities to break their marriage.

With separation, the marital status will remain the same for the couples. With divorce, the marital status will be completely changed and both parties will have no right to interfere in the other person’s life anymore.

Unlike separation, divorce comes with a lot of complexities and legal work. And unless the courts grant the divorce, you will still be connected with your partner.

Plus, the question of divorce mainly comes when you are legally married and want an official annulment of the relationship. Therefore, the concept of separation and divorce are totally different and refers to two different scenarios as per the Canadian legal rules and regulations.

Does Long Separation Result in Automatic Divorce in Canada?

Long separation or short separation–whatever terms you use, it will never account for an automatic divorce in Canada. Meaning, that as long as you are not appealing to get a divorce in Canada, you will still be linked with each other and considered lawful spouses.

Only an official divorce is legal and effective as per Canadian laws. However, there is always an exception to some cases where a separation can ultimately result in automatic divorce.

Let’s know about those grounds for automatic divorce that can happen if you take a long break from each other:

One-Year-Long Separation

Though there are no exact time limits of separation which can cause automatic divorce, you can definitely use the ground of absence or staying away from each other for a long period of 1 year.  This is a valid point that you can use to appeal and get a divorce from your partner.

However, staying away from each other means you cannot have any physical or emotional intimacy with your other partner. Failure to maintain the basic rules will result in the decline of the ground. Therefore, you have to prove to the court that you were separated for at least 1 year from your partner.

Learn: What Is The Divorce Rate In Canada?

Death of the Married Partner

Any sudden death of the married partner automatically results in the divorce. This type of separation falls under the category of automatic divorce. After all, if the person is no longer in the world, who will s/he be married to?

Similarly, if the other partner has gone missing or was hospitalized due to suffering from a serious mental disorder or wound, one can claim a rightful divorce.

Even though there remains a chance that s/he will get back to their normal life, it doesn’t mean you will have to wait for the rest of their lives. It’s your choice whether you want to move on in life or not.

Therefore, if a legally married person goes missing for at least 7 years and remains totally out of contact, they will be considered permanently absent or deceased. In this kind of scenario, couples will get automatically divorced.

Domestic Violence and Long Separation

Domestic abuse is the beginning of all kinds of marital issues. If such abuse occurs, then the wife and husband can live separately from each other. This long separation can be actively used as a legal ground for divorce later on and can also help in getting your rightful compensation.

However, consult with an experienced lawyer, as domestic violence cases are quite sensitive and come with several complications.

To Conclude

Overall, there are no definite time limits beyond which a separation will result in a divorce. Automatic divorce is not legally possible. However, if any of the scenarios matches with the situations mentioned above, it can be a strong legal ground for divorce.

So, if you are separated and wish to get a divorce legally, make sure to get legal support from an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.

Learn More: How To Get A Divorce In Canada?


Still, have confusion regarding the Canadian divorce process? Have a quick go through the below listed most asked questions right away:

How Long Do You Have to be Separated Before Divorce is Automatic in Canada?

You must stay at least 1 year separately from each other for a divorce in Canada. Although you can begin the process at any time during the 1 year period, you must wait until the year to appeal for a divorce.

Can You Get an Automatic Divorce After a Long Separation?

There is a common myth among people that if you stay 5 years plus separated from your spouse without any contact, you will get an automatic divorce. And thus, it will not require any paperwork/signing or anything to break the relationship. Well, always remember marriage is a legal bond that demands a legal separation (Divorce) to end the bond.

Can You Get a Divorce Without the Other Person Signing in Canada?

Yes, you can. You will not require your spouse’s consent to get a divorce. If both agree, the process goes smoothly. The divorce gets more complicated if the other person opposes and doesn’t want to consent.

Can You Stay Legally Separated Forever in Canada?

There is no specific time limit to stay separated. You can stay separated from each other for years after a divorce. If one of the partners wishes to remarry, they must appeal.

Can I Get a Divorce Within 3 Months of Marriage?

Getting a divorce within just 3 months of marriage is uncommon in Canada. However, if you have legal reasons, then you can definitely claim a divorce in civil court.

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