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An Introduction to Family Law in Ontario

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Marriage and divorce

To be legally married, you must go through a marriage ceremony with another person. The ceremony must be done by someone who has the legal power to marry people, such as a judge, justice of the peace, or religious official.

If you separate from your married spouse, one or both of you may want to get a divorce. A divorce is a court order that ends a marriage.

The main legal reason to get divorced is so that you can marry again. You can get a divorce if you show a breakdown in your marriage by proving any one of the following:

  • you have been separated for at least one year with no chance of getting back together
  • your partner cheated on you with someone
  • your partner treated you cruelly

You must also show the court that you have made reasonable plans to take care of your children if you have any.

You do not need to apply for a divorce to deal with issues such as support, property, and parenting plans. You can deal with them in a separation agreement or court order. See the section, What you need to do when separating or divorcing.