Frequently Asked Questions about Family Law and Divorce

Q: Do I have to wait one year after I separate before I can file for a divorce?

A: No, you can file for a divorce the day you separate.


Read more about filing for divorce.


Q: If I got married in a foreign country, do I have to get divorced in that same country?

A: No, if you have been a resident for one year in any province or territory, you can file for a divorce in Canada.


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Q: If I got married in Canada, but am a foreign citizen, do I have to get divorced in the foreign country?

A: You could get divorced in your place of residence (the foreign country), however if your spouse had been living in any Canadian province or territory for at least one year, then you could file for your divorce in that same province or territory.


Read more about filing for divorce.


Q: If I got divorced in a foreign country, do I need to get another divorce in Canada?

A: No, you need only one Divorce Order and you can only divorce the same person once (unless you remarry them and need to obtain a second divorce from the same person).


Read more about filing for divorce.


Q: If I obtained a foreign divorce order, do I have to register it in Canada in order for Canada to recognize the divorce order?

A: No, registration of a foreign divorce order is not required.


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Q: Do I have to sign a separation agreement before I can get a divorce?

A: No, it is not mandatory to first obtain a fully executed separation agreement before filing for a divorce. The filing of a separation agreement in court does not make the separation agreement “more legal.”


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Q: How can I apply to change my name(s)?

A: You can ask to change your name in Schedule 5 of your Notice of Family Claim at the time you file your Notice of Family Claim. You are not able to change your surname before the divorce order is granted.


Read more about family law.


Q: Can the court order the change in surname(s) of my children?

A: No, the court cannot order the children’s names to be changed. This is done through the Ministry of Health, Vital Statistics Agency.


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Q: Can I obtain the return of my original marriage certificate after the divorce order and corollary relief is granted?

A: Usually you can obtain the return of your original marriage certificate if you have asked for it to be returned in your notice of family claim and that term is ordered in your Form F52 Final Order. It is always subject to the discretion of the Judge.


Read more about filing for divorce.


Q: What do I do if my spouse dies after I have served with divorce papers?

A: As far as the divorce is concerned, there is nothing more you need to do as you cannot obtain a divorce order once your spouse has died. If there are corollary issues involving the division of the family property and/or family debt and/or issues of child support arrears, you should call us to schedule a consultation to determine your legal position on these issues.


Read more about filing for divorce.

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