Together, Apart: What Is Legally Separated?

What Is Legally Separated?

Okay, I know the separation drill: make an application to the Court, have some sort of document formalized, an agreement in place…

Would it surprise you to know that separation does not require any formality or court procedure?

When a couple begins living “separate and apart”, it has more to do with intention than physical proximity. Living in different residences while separated is not always possible, for financial reasons or otherwise. Spouses may, in fact, remain in the same residence, sleeping in separate rooms long before moving out. Additionally, there is no requirement for both spouses to consent to separation - only one in the relationship need act on the intention. Doing so eliminates the need for confirmation from a Court Order or lawyer.

So, is a separation all I need to terminate the relationship?

If you are unmarried, yes. If you are married, an application to the Court for divorce is required, even if issues of parenting, support and property have been agreed upon.

Regarding the confirmation of a separation in Alberta, two rarely used court documents may be obtained. Married people can seek a Judicial Separation under the Matrimonial Property Act or a Declaration of Irreconcilability under the Family Law Act, while unmarried people can only acquire the aforementioned Declaration. These documents permit application to the Court for division of property; typically, however, such applications are unnecessary and of limited value.

Important to note: the date of separation is key in determining child support, spousal support and the division of property and debt. If your spouse refuses consent or an acknowledgement of separation, the team at Coach My Case can assist you to ensure an accurate date of separation in your proceedings.

Want to learn more about separation and divorce, family law information, and the entire legal process? Call Coach My Case now to book a free strategy session with our Legal Navigator.