How to Get One-Sided Divorce in Canada

There are cases where one spouse doesn’t welcome the idea of getting a divorce even though it’s evident that the relationship is over. This could force you to go through a one-sided divorce process. One-sided divorce in Canada involves a situation where one partner wants to get a divorce but is unable to get the consent of the other.

Can I Divorce my Husband Without Him Knowing?

There are circumstances where the court may grant a divorce without the consent of one spouse. If I want a divorce but my husband doesn’t, there are ways to get legally divorced under certain circumstances.

What if You Can’t Locate Your Spouse?

Do both partners have to sign divorce papers? If you have made an effort to locate your partner and get them to sign the papers in vain, you may still be able to obtain a divorce. However, you will need to provide sufficient evidence that you have made every effort to find your partner but cannot locate him/her. Document the steps you’ve taken in an attempt to find your spouse. If your partner is completely inaccessible, you can go ahead and apply for a court order to get a divorce. The court will review all evidence provided and can only grant the divorce if there’s adequate proof that you’ve done everything possible to find your spouse.

How to File an One-sided Divorce

Have you served your spouse with divorce papers? What if one spouse doesn’t want a divorce in Canada? If you want a divorce but your spouse has refused to sign the divorce papers or provide consent, one of the steps you can take is filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery or cruelty. To be granted the divorce, you have to show evidence of adultery or cruelty that resulted in the breakdown of the marriage.

Filing for divorce on the grounds of adultery

To be granted divorce on the grounds of adultery, you will need to provide sufficient evidence that an affair took place. Adultery is said to be committed if one spouse engaged in physical, sexual contact with a third party. The mere suspicion that your spouse was having an affair will not grant you a divorce. You need not state the identity of the third party who was involved in the affair in the divorce application. Keep in mind that proving adultery can be difficult and may take longer for the court to grant a divorce, especially if a hearing is required.

Filing for Divorce on the Grounds of Cruelty

You may be able to file for divorce on the grounds of cruelty if your spouse acted in a manner that is considered cruel by the courts. Some common actions that constitute cruelty include:

  • Physical violence
  • One spouse is constantly afflicted with STDs by the other
  • Abusive or derogatory language
  • Neglect, especially if one spouse stays away from home too often with no explanation
  • Humiliation
  • Threats of violence

You must prove that the act of cruelty was severe enough and that it resulted in mental or physical harm in order to be granted the divorce.

What Happens if Your Spouse Refuses to Respond Within the Time Limit?

Can you still get a divorce if your spouse refuses to sign the papers and respond within the time limit? Once the divorce papers are served, your spouse has a limited time to respond. If the spouse who was served refuses to sign the papers, the one who had made the application may ask the court to grant it based on the fact that the other spouse did not oppose to it. The court will then assume that the other spouse either agrees to the divorce or doesn’t have any opinion regarding the process. In this case, you can pursue an uncontested divorce.

Uncontested Divorce, What to Expect

A divorce is deemed uncontested if one spouse files the application and the other doesn’t respond within the 30-day time limit. As soon as the time limit expires, the spouse who filed may ask the court to grant the divorce on the basis that the other did not respond to the papers they were served. The uncontested divorce process has several advantages. For starters, it saves you time and money since it will not involve court hearings since the other spouse is assumed to have consented to the terms of the divorce. Secondly, uncontested divorces are usually less emotionally draining since they are resolved much faster than contested divorces.

What Happens if Both Agree on the Divorce but not the Terms Therein?

There are situations where spouses may both agree to end the marriage but cannot reach a middle ground when it comes to corollary issues such as child custody and support. In this case, the court can sever the divorce. This simply means that the divorce can be granted by the courts as the corollary issues are still being resolved. Severing the divorce is a way to expedite the process and make it more practical for couples who really want to end their marriage.

Can Divorce be Granted Alone?

There are unique circumstances where a judge may not grant divorce alone until both parties agree on the corollary issues presented.

  1. If child support issues have not been adequately resolved, the court will not grant the divorce. The court must ensure that proper provisions have been put in place for children to be supported after the divorce. Regardless of the grounds for divorce, child support arrangements have to be made before the court grants divorce.
  2. Divorce may not be granted alone unless the spouse who made the application removes religious barriers to remarriage. Divorce will be denied if the judge can prove that one person is denying the other from remarrying by using his or her religion.
  3. The divorce application may also not be approved alone unless the spouses have lived together for at least 12 consecutive months. This eliminates the risk of immigrating to Canada to immediately get a divorce.