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Can the 12 month period for divorce be shortened?

As a Divorce Lawyer in Calgary, one of the questions I am frequently asked is: Can the 12 month period for divorce be shortened?

When I am asked this question my usual response is: What 12 month period?

It is my experience that many people believe that they cannot file a divorce action until they have been separated for 12 months. This is simply not true.

Separation of at least a year is one of the ways the parties may prove that there has breakdown of their marriage. However, if this is selected, it is possible to file a divorce action with the Court if the parties have only just separated. So, for example, the parties may have had an argument over breakfast and they decide to separate and one of the parties could file a divorce action later that day, even though they have only been "separated" for a number of hours.

If one of them does so, that is not a problem but, if separation of a least a year is the method chosen, neither of them will be able to apply for a divorce judgment until such time as they have been separated for at least a year. They can use that time to, hopefully, resolve all of the other issues, including custody and access to the children, child support, spousal support and division of matrimonial property, with the assistance of the Court, if necessary.

The parties may rely upon the other committing adultery during the marriage, or treatment of physical or mental cruelty of such a kind so as to render intolerable the continued cohabitation of the parties as proof that there has breakdown of their marriage and, if so and all other issues have been resolved, there is no need to wait a year before requesting a divorce judgment and the divorce judgment can be applied for immediately. As such, this could be an answer to the question posed at the beginning.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above, or if you would like to contact me to discuss any questions regarding separation, divorce, division of property, child support, spousal support, custody and access or guardianship or parenting, please call me on 403-538-2105, or email me using this link.

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