Is there a difference between being separated and being divorced?

A separation occurs when one or both people in a relationship have decided that they wish to separate and there is no likelihood that they will reconcile.  The date that this occurs and is communicated to the other spouse is the date of separation.    One party may move out of the home on that date.  Alternatively, it is increasingly common that both parties will remain living separate and apart in the same home until the legal aspects of their separation have been resolved.  The date of separation has very important legal implications so it is important to speak with your family lawyer about this issue.

Once you are separated, you may resolve the issues of parenting, child support, spousal support and a division of property through the negotiation of a Separation Agreement with the assistance of a family lawyer or family mediator.

If you have completed a Separation Agreement and are married, there is no requirement that you obtain a divorce unless you wish to remarry.   Some people choose not to end their marriage and remain separated but not divorced.   This may be for personal reasons or because it may end one spouse’s eligibility for medical and dental insurance coverage.

However, if you wish to divorce and have a Separation Agreement, you need to commence a divorce application asking the court to end your marriage.  The divorce application is an administrative process.  The Court simply wants to satisfy itself that if there are children, child support is being paid according to the Child Support Guidelines.  You may file your Separation Agreement with the Court to show the child support arrangements.   A divorce application will usually take 3-4 months to complete.  The divorce can be granted once both parties have lived separate and apart for one year.