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Married in one Province, living in two different provinces

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Anonymous Asked:

Married in one Province, living in two different provinces. We were married in Manitoba in 2008 but were living in Alberta at the time. We split up on 2013 and haven't lived together since March of that year. I continued living in Alberta until December 2014 and now live in Ontario. She moved back to Manitoba in 2013 and has remained there. The breakup is mutual and the divorce will be uncontested. We agree on the terms but we have no separation agreement filed. Do we first need to file a separation agreement and then for divorce and in which province does the paperwork need to be done? Thanks.

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Jennifer M. Long, B.A. J.D.
5 years ago

In order to obtain a divorce, one spouse needs to have been living in the province where the divorce order is sought for at least one year before commencing the proceeding. Since you have only been living in Ontario since December 2014 you would need to wait out the year before commencing a proceeding here, but your wife could commence an application in Manitoba immediately as she has resided there since 2013.

In Ontario, a separation agreement can be filed with the court but it does not need to be. You can commence the proceeding for an uncontested divorce without filing the separation agreement, however keep in mind that the limitation period for making an equalization claim
​(division of property and debts) c​hanges once a divorce is obtained. An equalization claim can be commenced within 6 years of the date of separation or 2 years from the date of divorce. ​If there are children as well, and in particular, it is always good to have a separation agreement to set out parenting and support issues as some judges will not grant a divorce if there are minor children and proper arrangements have not been made for their support. ​I would recommend that you seek the assistance of a lawyer ​to discuss your matter in more detail.

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