separation before a divorce in ontario

How to determine if you have been separated from your spouse

It is a common myth that you and your spouse must be living in separate homes to be defined as separated in the Courts. This is not true. Separation is when one spouse has the intent to live separate and apart. As such, you and your partner may be living in the same house yet still be separated. You might decide to live in the same home because it’s easier to care for the children together or because it’s too expensive to move out.

The Courts look at the following factors to determine if you and your spouse have been living separate and apart:

  • If you and your and spouse are sharing a bedroom;
  • If you and your spouse are having sexual relations;
  • If you and your spouse are preparing and eating meals together;
  • If you and your spouse are attending social events as a couple;
  • If you and your spouse are sharing chores;
  • If you and your spouse continue to communicate about and accommodate one another’s schedules

It is important to be aware that that the exact day that you and your spouse separated is called the date of separation. This date is important as it can affect aspects such as:

  • Divorce: one way of obtaining a divorce is by being separated for a year. The date you separate is the day you start counting this one-year period.
  • Dividing property: Married couples have a right to a share in the value of property they got during their marriage. You’re not entitled to a share in the value of property after the date you separate unless the property is jointly owned.
  • Possible Retroactive support

If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers regarding further issues related to this topic please contact us at (416) 840-1475 or schedule your free initial consultation here.