Getting Divorced

Service Canada has prepared information to help you understand the legal issues and process of divorce in Canada. The following may inform you about your rights and responsibilities, but for legal advice, please consult a lawyer.

Learn about the Divorce Law in Canada

The Divorce Law: Questions and Answers guide informs you about the basic things you need to know about getting a divorce in Canada. It also explains the requirements for getting a divorce, some of the forms you have to fill out, how to set up living arrangements for your children, child support, spousal support, and the sharing of property and debt.

Provincial and territorial laws apply when unmarried parents separate or married parents separate and do not pursue a divorce. These provincial and territorial laws may contain provisions regarding parent-child relationships (parental authority, guardianship, etc.).

Seek Legal Help and Advice

If you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be eligible for legal aid. Civil legal aid (such as family law) is a provincial and territorial responsibility. Many provinces and territories also offer lawyer referral services.

Family Law Assistance Services offer programs related to family orders and agreements, divorce proceedings and garnishment of salaries.

Inform Yourself about Parenting After Divorce

There are many resources available for parents on the Divorce Act and other issues related to post-separation parenting arrangements.

There is also information available about the Federal Child Support Guidelines, including how to calculate child support owed. More information about maintenance enforcement programs can be obtained through your province or territory.

Apply for the Canada Pension Plan Credit Splitting Program

The Canada Pension Plan Credit Splitting program allow credits which the couple built up during the time they lived together to be divided equally between them. Credits can be split even if one spouse or common-law partner did not pay into the Canada Pension Plan.

In the case of a legal divorce that took place on or after January 1, 1987 you do not have to apply. Canada Pension Plan simply needs to be notified that the divorce occurred and given certain information (with documentation), such as the length of time you lived together. You can contact Service Canada to request a credit split or you can obtain the application form online.

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