Halle Berry - the Rules of Attempting Reconciliation

Last year, Halle Berry and her current husband Olivier Martinez were in a hurry to get a divorce, with each of them filing pleadings with the Court to begin the process. However, no further actions have been taken by either side to proceed. TMZ reports that the couple is content to remain married, and are not in a rush to obtain the divorce. There is even some speculation that Halle may have some hope of reconciliation. But if the couple does make attempts to reconcile, what does this mean for their divorce action?

In Ontario, Courts are permitted, on application from either spouse, to grant a divorce on the grounds that there has been a breakdown of the marriage. The most common ground for proving a breakdown in the marriage is separation. Proving separation requires establishing that the spouses have lived separate and apart for at least one year before the commencement of divorce proceedings.

However, if during their separation spouses unsuccessfully attempt reconciliation, this could cause delay in obtaining the divorce. Section 3(b)(ii) of the Divorce Act provides that when parties resume cohabitation in an attempt to reconcile, the separation period will have been interrupted or terminated if the cohabitation lasts for 90 days or longer. It is important to note that the 90 days need not be consecutive. For example, two attempts of reconciliation which last 45 days each could trigger the interruption. As such, it is essential that spouses are cognizant of important dates when obtaining a divorce, specifically, the date of separation, and the period of time, if any, the spouses resume cohabitation in an effort to reconcile.

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