Skip to content

Filing for Divorce in Canada

Wondering how to get a divorce in Saskatchewan? Our family law office is here to help. We have handled some of the toughest divorce cases in the province. 

To get divorced, you must have grounds, but they’re usually simple to meet. Most people choose the option to separate from their spouses for one year. You can also divorce them for adultery, or for mental or physical cruelty, but this is legally more difficult.

Here’s a broad overview of the divorce process to help you get started. 


What do I need to do before I can file for a divorce in Canada?

Your first step should be to gather all of your financial documents. This includes check stubs, tax returns, bank statements, copies of all your bills, investment account statements, deeds, and information on every asset and debt. Your divorce attorney will need a full and complete picture of your financial situation to help you effectively. 

Next, call an attorney! It is almost never wise to attempt to get a divorce on your own. Every part of a divorce can have lasting financial consequences. If you have minor children your eventual divorce decree might well impact your ability to maintain a relationship with your children.

Third, if you are choosing to separate for one year, you might well need a formal separation agreement to protect your interests during that year.


How do I file for a divorce in Canada?

You will need to file a Statement of Claim for Divorce and Division of Marital Property. This statement will list your grounds for the divorce, as well as an initial proposal that will cover all the major issues of the divorce. 

The defendant has 20 days to disagree with the Statement of Claim. This statement only says that you have grounds for a divorce.

Once the waiting period is done, you can file a Sworn Affidavit Service, Nothing in Default, Request for Divorce, Affidavit of Application, and a proposed Divorce Judgment.

The proposed Divorce Judgment will include your proposal for handling all the major issues of the divorce such as the division of property, spousal support, child support, and child custody. If your spouse agrees with the proposal you will have a rare uncontested divorce. 

If they wish the terms of the divorce settlement to be different they’ll send in a counteroffer, and the process of negotiating a divorce settlement will begin. This can be handled by negotiation between two attorneys, by alternative dispute resolution, through mediation, or in court. 


How much will a divorce cost me in Canada?

An uncontested divorce usually costs less than $3000. A contested divorce can cost $33,000 or more.

Much depends on how much work your attorney has to put into helping you reach a divorce settlement, and on whether or not your divorce case enters any kind of litigation. 

To this end, we typically encourage our clients to settle their divorces if they can. This is usually a less expensive, less heart wrenching process. Try to get yourself out of the mindset of “punishing” a spouse who has hurt you and into the mindset of dissolving a business agreement. It can help you save a great deal of money.


What do I need to know about Canadian divorce laws? 

Both spouses have equal right to marital property, which means it is very difficult, if not impossible, for one spouse to take “everything.” In addition, the formulas for child support and spousal support are pretty well set based on a number of different factors. 

Your attorney can easily give you a “best case” and “worst case” scenario for your divorce. Your goal should be to decide what is most important to you and to aim for a settlement that is somewhere between those extremes.

In addition, you should know that it’s very rare to win sole custody of children in any part of Canada. Judges usually prefer for both parents to be involved in the child’s life as much as possible. While this may not be true in your specific case, most judges favor joint physical and legal custody agreements that give both parents near 50/50 access to their children. 

Unless the other parent legitimately poses a threat to your child’s safety, it is rarely worth it to try to push for sole custody. 


Will I need a separation agreement in Canada? 

It is very wise to complete a separation agreement. While you can legally separate without such an agreement, completing one is the only way to back your agreement without a court order.

Let us say that your spouse agrees to pay the mortgage and utilities while you are separated, and to pay you a small support amount for groceries. You are a homemaker and have no other income. Without a formalized separation agreement your spouse could stop paying those bills at any time, and you wouldn’t have recourse until the divorce process began.


With a formalized divorce agreement, you can take your spouse to court for breaching the contract and the court will ensure that the obligations are paid until the divorce is finalized. A formal separation agreement protects you and your children. 


Get Help Today

We have helped thousands of Canadians navigate their divorce cases. We’ve handled extremely complex cases such as high net worth and farm divorces as well. 

We help clients in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. We’re known for being some of Canada’s savviest negotiators and toughest litigators. We’re also a full service law firm, which means you get the benefit of working with skilled attorneys who have a firm backing in real estate and business law. This allows us to come up with sophisticated legal solutions to your divorce issues, and to preserve the value of your assets.


Gather your information and call your nearest Merchant Law office today to get started.

About Donald I.M. Outerbridge

Donald became the Executive Director of Merchant Law Group LLP starting in 1993, nearly 30 years ago. His experience managing law firms at various levels and in multiple provinces across Canada goes back even further to 1981.

Please note: The information provided on this website is Not Legal Advice. The information may or may not be accurate. The information is for discussion purposes only. Reliance upon any information provided would not be grounds to advance a claim against Merchant Law for providing any advice. In order to get a formal legal opinion upon which you may rely about any specific fact scenario, you would have to first retain the services of a lawyer and request a formal legal opinion.