If you were thinking of ending your marriage, it’s important that you understand how divorce works. Unfortunately, a lot of people go into divorce proceedings with tons of preconceived ideas about what divorce is exactly. Not understanding certain aspects could end up costing you and could have serious consequences. In this article, we’re going to give you some of the most common myths and misconceptions people have about filing for divorce.

My Spouse Said He Would Refuse to Sign, So the Divorce Can’t Go Through

This is often a scenario we see played out on television shows, but that’s pure fiction. Contrary to what some may think, permission from your spouse isn’t mandatory and you also don’t have to wait indefinitely in order to get divorced.

All you need to file for a contested divorce is to have lived separated from your spouse for a full year or satisfy the grounds for a fault based divorce. If you go through the process correctly, a judge will ultimately grant you relief. There is no court that will force any party to stay in an unhappy relationship.

The Court will Favour You if Your Spouse Cheated

While there was a time when the courts would put weight into who was at fault for ending the relationship, things have changed and it doesn’t have the same importance as it once did. In this day and age, the way relationships end has little significance when it come to dividing  your assets, and determining spousal support or child custody.

That’s why it’s essential that you consult with skilled family lawyers who are familiar with separation and divorce law if you want to understand how this will be determined and what factors may influence it. Some divorce lawyers are also available to help you with court in the background. You can ask them for advice and assistance while you represent yourself.

You should also know that if you’re Canadian, each province will deal differently with how your property will be divided even though the Divorce Act is a federal statute. There are a few other rules for spouses in Canada that you should be aware of too. As explained by the Calgary and Vancouver divorce lawyers Crossroads Law: “Spouses in Canada can get divorced if they have been separated for one year; if there has been adultery or; if there has been physical or mental cruelty.” You should also know that matrimonial property laws and the divorce act don’t apply to you if you happen to be in a common law marriage, and living in a province with no property division legislation for common law couples like Alberta.

People in Common Law Relationships Don’t Have to Worry about Spousal Support or Dividing Assets

If you’ve been in a romantic relationship and living together for a set period of time, you may be considered to be in a common law relationship. The amount of time it takes all depends on your jurisdiction. In Alberta, the amount of time it takes to be officially in a common law relationship is 3 years. However, even if you’re not officially married, your assets might end up being divided and you may have to pay  spousal support.

The minute you’re officially considered to be in a common law relationship, laws will apply to you on spousal support . The amount of spousal support that will have to be paid depends on various factors. If one partner was particularly dependant on the other financially, the length of the relationship, the ages of the spouses, the incomes of the spouses, and whether there are any kids will all affect the spousal support claim.

Note that property laws will also vary depending on where you live. For instance, in Alberta, there is legislation in place for common law couples when it comes to alimony  and child support, but no legislation on property for common law spouses. Also, in British Columbia, once the spouses are together for two years they have a right to 50% of the assets earned during the relationship. .

I Bought the Property Before we Got Married, So It Will Automatically Be Awarded to Me

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Even if your name was on the title or you bought the property before the marriage, the other party is most likely still entitled to a certain portion of it. Unless you’ve signed a cohabitation agreement or prenupial agreement, or a document that explicitly states how the property will be divided once the relationship ends, then the other party may be entitled to share in any increase in value of the property since you started living together. .

In a province like Alberta, married spouses actually get to keep any property they owned before their marriage. However, any increase in value during the marriage may be divided. There are also other exceptions and particularities depending on where you live, so make sure that you speak with your family lawyer in detail about the laws in your jurisdiction.


Knowing the truth about divorce will allow you to come prepared and know exactly what you can expect to get and what will be expected from you. Make sure that you get all the information you can before you start the proceedings and work with a skilled lawyer that will guide you through each step.