No Fault is not the same as “It’s not my fault”!
In my previous blog, I listed the 3 main reasons that provide grounds for divorce. Once a couple make the decision to separate and divorce, the concept of “No Fault” comes into play, in terms of the law. In 1986 the law was changed to embrace this concept to help drain the some of the emotions from attributing blame and/or punitive damages to one person or the other. Before this legal change, couples had to charge each other with an offence or a bad behaviour that would have to be proven in court. These charges would often be played out in public, resulting in much personal damage to both people. (Michael Cochrane L.L.B., Surviving Your Divorce, A Guide to Canadian Family Law, LegalIntel, 2015, pg. 67)
Grounds for Divorce
Canada has no-fault divorce. The only ground for a divorce in the Divorce Act is marriage breakdown. The Divorce Act says you can show your marriage has broken down if any ONE of the following criteria applies to you:
- You have been living apart for one year or more.
- Your spouse has treated you with physical or mental cruelty of such a kind as to make living together intolerable.
- Your spouse has committed adultery.
To get a divorce for these reasons you must prove these things in court.
Many divorces are uncontested or undefended divorces (about 80 percent). That means that the divorcing couple have settled on how they’re going to settle their parenting, support, and property issues. But they still need a court order for the divorce. (see https://justice.gov.bc.ca/divorce/prequalification/step_06)
My next blog will focus on how to choose a good lawyer.