The Difference between Separation and Divorce

The Difference between Separation and Divorce Featured Image

Leaving is inevitable when someone finds problems in living with the spouse. But ending marriage takes some work. You must know critical things to avoid legal problems, including the difference between separation and divorce. 

Both divorce and separation can affect your life dramatically. We will explain what you need to know about legal separation and divorce.

What is Divorce?

Divorce is a legal action that continues the process of terminating a marital relationship. It involves a strictly legal process, allowing a formal ending to the relationship between the spouses. 

Married couples cannot divorce themselves; the state must approve their application. Once the process is done, the couples can be separated without bonding or liabilities.

What is the Eligibility of Divorce?

In Canada or similar countries, spouses can request divorce after certain incidents. That incident includes:


When any spouse commits adultery, the other has the right to want a divorce. Adultery is considered to make unauthorized physical affairs with outside people. The law ground, society, and religion strictly prohibit this. 


Abuse is a kind of domestic violence caused by any of the spouses. When two people do not agree with each other’s choices, one can hit another. Divorce can be a solution when any relationship is affected by abuse.


When the spouse lives separately for more than one year, they can request a divorce. Although there is no officially acclaimed legal separation in Canada, the couple can ask it when one is irresponsible in the marriage.

What is Separation?

Legal separation is considered staying in different places in a marital relationship. Spouses can stay separately when they are not attracted to each other for personal reasons. 

Moreover, the separation can be done without a legal form to fill in. Instead, the spouses can have any observer testify that they are uncomfortable with each other.

What are the Factors to Consider for Separation?

Separation is tricky to understand. For example, a happily married couple can stay in separate houses if they can afford it. Again, a troubled couple can live under the same roof while not in love anymore.

So, there are some factors to be analyzed to assess a separation. Those include:


It must be clear whether the spouse has separate bedrooms in one house or not. Also, It must be assured that the spouse is not having a sexual relationship between them.


Whether they share the expenses, home appliances, or children must be checked. There must be a mutual responsibility between them.


It must be checked whether they participate in the same social places or eat meals together like a normal family.

Difference between Separation and Divorce

We have already mentioned that divorce happens between a fully married couple to make them independent individuals. But separation applies to a common-law relationship when a spouse does not need a divorce.  

But, a separation lawyer can settle the separation agreement to avoid any trouble. The agreement is a claim for spousal support, etc. The agreement can make anyone safe if there is an accusation of violation. 

We have pointed out more differences between separation and divorce for clear understanding. 

  • Insurance: The couple can keep the other person covered under the insurance. But divorce will determine the less guilty person to have the coverage.
  • Tax Payment: Separation is just an agreement so that the couple can pay their tax money together.  But that must be stated in the agreement.
  • Finances: Separation will specify any debt and liabilities from a joint account, whereas divorce will outline the specific partner to pay the debt.
  • Property Ownership: Separation does not affect property plans, but divorce will divide the property and send it to the right claimants.

For the record, both married and non-married spouses can legally separate after fulfilling the agreements. It is very common in Canada to stay together without marital relationships.

Similarity between Separation and Divorce

Although severe differences exist, divorce and separation let spouses live their daily lives in different places. Both can help determine the debt, assets, and liabilities. Also, both provide agreements that specify the do and don’t of the spouse.

Why Would You Get a Legal Separation Instead of a Divorce?

Separation often helps the couple to resolve the current issue with each other. Many psychologists think it can strengthen the relationship by realizing another’s importance.

Further, separation can help you decide after observing your marital status.

What Not to Do During Separation?

Best family lawyers in Canada advised avoiding common mistakes during the separation period. Otherwise, the result can go against the person.

Leaving Family Home 

Lawyers do not suggest leaving the family home as there is the risk of getting the children harmed by the desperate one.

Threatening the Spouse

Theretaing, the spouse can be used as an act of violence to press charges, so it is better not to commit such acts.

 Influencing Child

Lawyers forbid influencing children to worsen the parent-child relationship. Also, they do not suggest using the children as the messenger.

Signing Papers

It is better not to sign any kind of papers during the separation. Otherwise, the papers can be misused, resulting in serious loss.

Disposing of Property

Lawyers suggest avoiding disposing of any property or asset. If doing so, the credibility can be erased.

However, the difference between separation and divorce is long and diverse. We always recommend that our readers find a good lawyer before choosing either option. 


Should I get divorced or separated?

You have to consider multiple facts before getting divorced or separated. For example, the process to divorce if you do not see any financial benefit. Sometimes separation and living together cost the same, and the spouse suffers. Divorce is better in such cases. Contact a family lawyer to make the right decision. 

Can separation cause divorce in return?

Many couples decide to stay separated to take a break from their hard life. But, reports say, 80 percent of them end up having a divorce after many difficulties. So, we suggest you talk to a lawyer to take the right step. The answer can vary from person to person, so you cannot take others as your examples.

How long should a separation last?

A typical separation lasts from three to six months. However, staying separated for over one year will lead you to sign the divorce paper in Canada. If you cannot see any progress after the separation, contact your lawyer and process to divorce.

Previous How Long Does Contested Divorce Take in Canada

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Please note: The information provided on this website is Not Legal Advice. The information may or may not be accurate. The information is for discussion purposes only. Reliance upon any information provided would not be grounds to advance a claim against Chinese Lawyer Vancouver for providing any advice. In order to get a formal legal opinion upon which you may rely about any specific fact scenario, you would have to first retain the services of a lawyer and request a formal legal opinion.