3 Legal Reasons for Divorce
Your relationship hasn’t been working for a while, and it’s become clear that you and your partner want different things in life and are headed in different directions. If you’re thinking about formally ending your relationship, you may be surprised to learn that you have to meet one of three legal criteria to file for divorce in Saskatchewan. Learn more about the three legal grounds for divorce and what you may need to show to prove that you meet them.
Physical or Mental Cruelty
You can file for divorce if your spouse has treated you so poorly that it makes living with them in marriage impossible or intolerable. Under Canadian code, this is referred to as “cruelty.” Cruelty would obviously include any physical abuse, but it can also include sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse. This is important because it means that you don’t have to meet the criminal definition of physical abuse or have a history of police reports to qualify for this reason for divorce. If your spouse regularly shouts at you, demeans you, or otherwise makes it unreasonable to continue to live and sustain a marriage with them, you may be able to take this option.
However, you will need to prove that the actions are taking place and what effect they have had on you and your quality of life. It’s up to the judge to determine through evidence and statements whether the actions actually happened and whether they meet the grounds for cruelty. To support your case, you can show evidence, such as photographs of bruises, police reports from domestic violence calls, and videos or recordings of the abuse taking place. You may also be able to present witness testimony or affidavits if others saw or heard the abuse taking place firsthand.
If your spouse cheated on you, you may be able to file for divorce on grounds of adultery. When two parties enter into a marriage together, they are agreeing that they won’t have intimate relationships outside their marriage unless both parties are in agreement. It’s important to note here that adultery is reserved for sexual relationships and can’t be used if your spouse was having an emotional affair or just going on dates.
You also have to be able to prove that your spouse engaged in sexual relations with the other person, which can be difficult if your spouse isn’t willing to cooperate. The easiest way to provide this documentation is to have your spouse sign an affidavit admitting to the infidelity, but this isn’t something most people want to do. It may be possible to provide other evidence, but it’s much more difficult to prove in this manner. A lawyer can provide guidance on what you need to show that adultery occurred. It’s important to also keep in mind that if you agreed to the outside sexual relationship, this doesn’t count as grounds for divorce.
Physical Separation for at Least 1 Year
The last legal reason for divorce in Saskatchewan is if you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least one year. This is the most common of the grounds for divorce because it’s the easiest to show and doesn’t require anyone to take the blame for the divorce or be named as the “bad guy.” However, the prospect of having to maintain two households — and navigate childcare and responsibilities — for one year before even being able to file for divorce can be daunting.
Living in two separate residences may be the easiest way to show that you are living separate and apart with your spouse, but it’s not actually required to meet this definition. For example, if you are sleeping in separate beds and are not functioning as a married couple in your daily lives, that could still be living separate and apart even if you’re under one roof.
If you’re not sure if you meet this definition currently or need legal counsel on how to proceed over the next few months to ensure that you can use this grounds when you’re ready to file, speak with a family law lawyer at Panko Collaborative Law & Mediation.
What If We Tried to Reconcile?
It’s not uncommon for a couple to try again after they’ve decided to break up, especially when the relationship was a marriage or the parties have children together. The good news is that if you tried to reconcile after you started living separate and apart, this doesn’t reset the clock for how long you have to wait to file for divorce unless as long as you meet these two criteria:
- The reconciliation attempt was unsuccessful.
- The reconciliation period lasted less than 90 days.
Moving Forward With Divorce
If you believe that you meet one of the grounds for divorce listed above and you’re ready to move forward with filing for divorce, the first step is to discuss your case with an attorney. You can get a better understanding of what may be involved in your property division settlement and whether you may be able to use mediation as a tool to avoid a long court battle.
Whether you are ready to file or still considering whether you want a divorce, it’s important to speak with a lawyer about your situation before making any final decisions. At Panko Collaborative Law & Mediation, you can schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team where you can find out whether you have grounds for divorce and what you can expect with issues such as property division and child custody. Call our office today at (306) 518-8107.