skip to Main Content

Grounds for Divorce in Alberta

If you are considering divorce or currently going through a separation, it is important that you understand the grounds for divorce that apply here in Alberta as well as across Canada. Unfortunately, many couples fail to properly understand this important concept, which can impact their separation and only stands to add more stress and tension to the process. Whether you are considering a mediated divorce or elect to go through the court system, read on to ensure you understand the grounds for divorce in Alberta and Canada.

What is considered grounds for divorce?

The Divorce Act is a Canada wide statute that deals with custody, access, child support and spousal support. The only ground for divorce in Canada is the breakdown of the marriage. You can establish that ground in three ways:

  1. A one year separation. You can resolve all outstanding issues between you in advance of your one year separation but the Court will not process your divorce until you have been separated for a year.
  2. Adultery. This can be established through one party swearing a Statement of Adultery, or admitting to the adultery under oath. Failing an admission in this regard, adultery can only be proven at trial, based on a balance of probabilities.
  3. Mental or physical cruelty. As with Adultery, this can be established through one party swearing a Statement of Cruelty, or admitting to the cruelty under oath. Failing an admission in this regard, cruelty can only be proven at trial, based on a balance of probabilities.

Canada is a system of no-fault divorce. As such, how you prove the breakdown of the marriage has absolutely no bearing on your rights or obligations under the Divorce Act or the Matrimonial Property Act.

There is a residency requirement in the Divorce Act such that you or your spouse must have been ordinarily resident in Alberta for at least one year immediately preceding the filing of the Statement of Claim for Divorce. To commence a divorce action we must file a Statement of Claim for Divorce. You can also make a claim for a distribution of matrimonial property in the same Statement of Claim.

What are my options for divorce?

Every marriage is unique and individual. Naturally then, so is every divorce. There are several ways that your divorce can be processed or executed, including the “DIY” divorce, collaborative divorce, litigated divorce or through mediation. Mediation is often ideal for couples who are in a more amicable position, encouraging open communication and clear-headedness. Read more about meditation here and connect with our office to book an initial consultation to learn more about mediation and if it may be a fit for your divorce.