A legal separation is an option for married couples who no longer wish to operate as a couple but who don’t want to get divorced. Couples who aren’t sure yet if they want to permanently end their marriage may choose legal separation as a trial to see if they want to get back together. In many cases, couples who choose to go through a legal separation will also live apart. However, it is possible to be granted a legal separation and continue to live in the same house.
If you are considering a legal separation, it’s important to understand all of your options and what a legal separation accomplishes. Our team of lawyers is familiar with the laws regarding legal separations in Ontario and can help you decide which course is best and help you start taking steps forward.
What is a Divorce?
A divorce is the legal dissolution of a marriage. While a couple can choose to no longer live together or operate as partners, they have to be legally divorced in order to remarry. A divorce also allows the courts to decide on matters related to child custody and issues orders for child support or spousal support.
Do You Have to Be Separated Before Filing for Divorce?
In Ontario, it is required that couples be separated for at least one year before filing for divorce. The exceptions to this are if the divorce is being filed because of abuse or because a spouse cheated. However, you don’t have to be legally separated to meet the separation requirements for a divorce. If you’re not sure if you have been separated long enough to file for divorce, talking with an lawyer can help you better understand this requirement and what you need to do before you move forward.
What Are the Benefits of a Legal Separation?
Beyond giving you time to decide if you truly want a divorce, a legal separation offers a few benefits. When you are granted a legal separation, you are still able to access the spousal benefits related to social security, health care, pension and retirement accounts, and taxes. You are able to reap all of the benefits the government provides for married couples while still being free to have an independent life.
If you are considering a legal separation, it is important to have all of the facts. A legal separation may impact how a divorce filing is handled later if you choose to move forward and should be treated as a serious legal action. Call our office today at 647-933-2397 to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers who can help you understand legal separations and whether it’s an option for you.