How do I get divorced?

Marriage is a relatively simple status to attain. In Saskatchewan, all two consenting, eligible adults need is a $60 marriage license and clergy or marriage commissioner registered to perform marriages under The Marriage Act, 1995. Obtaining a divorce requires more paperwork, time, and money in comparison. If children are involved or the spouses are particularly hostile or disagreeable, additional paperwork, time, and money may be required.

A divorce is the legal termination of a marriage by a court of competent jurisdiction. In Saskatchewan, this is the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench (SKQB). In granting divorce judgments, the SKQB is governed by the Divorce Act, RSC 1985 and The Queen Bench Rules. You do not need a divorce judgment to terminate a common law relationship (however, common law spouses are granted the same matrimonial rights as married spouses with respect to children, financial support, and division of property). If you were legally married and obtained a marriage certificate in accordance with the governing legislation of the country you were married in, you require a divorce judgment to legally terminate your marriage.

To obtain a divorce judgment, you or your spouse must file a petition with the SKQB advising the Court that you request a divorce. As of the date of this article, the SKQB charges a $300 fee to file a petition for divorce. You do not have to have been married in Saskatchewan to apply for a divorce in Saskatchewan. You simply must have been a Saskatchewan resident for the preceding year. It does not matter whether you or your spouse file the petition and will not have any affect on the outcome of your divorce or matrimonial rights and obligations regarding parenting time, decision making responsibilities for children, child support, spousal support, or division as property.

When can you file a petition and ask the SKQB for a divorce? You can file a petition as soon as you have separated and there has been a breakdown of your marriage or on any date thereafter; however, you will not receive a divorce judgment and termination of your marriage immediately. Under the Divorce Act, the SKQB is able to grant a divorce where there has been a breakdown of the marriage under any of the following three scenarios:

  1. You and your ex-spouse have lived separate and apart for at least one year[1];
  2. The ex-spouse a divorce is being sought from committed adultery[2]; or
  3. The spouse a divorce is being sought from committed cruelty[3].

Although divorces may be granted on the basis of adultery or cruelty, obtaining a divorce through one of these grounds is not as simple as stating your spouse has committed adultery or cruelty. Additional documentation and evidentiary requirements must be met. Practically speaking, the SKQB primarily grants divorces on the basis of the first scenario, where the spouses have lived separated and apart for at least one year. While you may want to run to the courthouse the day after your separation to file a petition and ask for a divorce, the SKQB will not grant you a divorce judgment, terminating your marriage, until the one-year period has elapsed. Once you are nearing upon or past the one-year date, you must file an application for judgment requesting a divorce judgment to terminate your marriage from the SKQB. As of the date of this article, there is a $95  fee required by the SKQB to file an application for judgment.

Obtaining a divorce judgment can be done by spouses without the help of lawyers; however, W Law LLP is here to assist you in navigating through the legislation and rules of court and ensuring your legal rights are preserved. Legal rights and responsibilities regarding parenting time, decision making responsibilities for children, child support, spousal support, and property division are associated with terminating your marriage. In some scenarios, the SKQB will not grant a divorce where there are outstanding matrimonial issues to be resolved.

If you have any questions or would like additional information with respect to your particular situation, please contact one of our Family Law Lawyers.

This article is for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create a solicitor-client relationship. W Law LLP does not make any guarantee about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein.

[1]Divorce Act, RSC 1985, s 8(2)(a).

[2] Divorce Act, RSC 1985, s 8(2)(b)(i).

[3] Divorce Act. RSC 1985, s 8(2)(b)(ii).

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