Divorce and Separation
A divorce is when a valid marriage breaks down and is dissolved on the date of the decree of divorce. A divorce can be initiated as: (i) a simple (uncontested divorce) where the applicant requests a divorce alone and no other additional relief, (ii) a joint divorce (initiated by both spouses) where they request a divorce alone (on consent) or a divorce and other relief (on consent), or (iii) a divorce with corollary issues (contested) where the applicant seeks a divorce and other relief.
A separation can refer to a married couple separating, and living separate and apart for a continuous period of time or it can refer to a formerly cohabiting (unmarried) couple separating, and living separate and apart for a continuous period of time.
Simple/Uncontested Divorce and Joint Divorce
A simple/uncontested divorce involves an applicant claiming a divorce only with no corollary issues to be dealt with, like support or equalization of property. In a joint divorce, both parties agree on all the issues and proceed with a joint application.
A divorce is contested when the spouses are unable to agree upon support amounts and how to equalize their property.
Separation Issues Involving Common-Law Spouses
The same type of separation issues dealing with division of property, support amounts, etc., arise in situations where spouses were living together in marriage-like relationships but were not legally married.