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Hello, I am Daphna Schwartz of Feldstein Family Law Group. Today, I will be discussing divorce and separation and the difference between the two.

It is important for spouses to understand the difference between divorce and separation because legally they have different meanings.

Separation occurs when one party has the intention to live separate and apart from the other. This does not mean that the parties have to be living in different homes. It is possible, but not easy, for parties to live separate and apart under the same roof. In order to determine if or when a couple begins living separate and apart, we look at certain factors, including, but not limited to, whether they share a bedroom, whether they share meals and chores, whether they engage in sexual relations, and whether they socialize as a couple.

Separation is not something that spouses need to apply to the courts for, it is what happens once a relationship breaks down.

There are certain issues surrounding separation that may need to be addressed immediately. These issues include financial support and dividing assets. If there are children, such issues also include a parenting schedule for each parent, how major decisions regarding the children will be made, and how the children will be financially supported now, and in the future.

Issues surrounding separation, are resolved either by way of the parties negotiating and signing terms of a Separation Agreement, by way of a judge making a court order or by way of an arbitrator making an award. Separation Agreements, court orders, or arbitration awards explain how each issue has been resolved and how any future issues will be dealt with.

Divorce, in contrast to separation, usually cannot be resolved right away. Unless there are issues of adultery or cruelty, spouses must wait at least one year from the date that they separate until they can apply for a Divorce Order. Even once the year has passed, if there are children involved, the courts will likely not grant a Divorce unless they are satisfied that the children are being properly cared for, by way of a parenting schedule for each parent and financially by way of child support.

Thirty-one days after a judge signs a Divorce Order, spouses are officially divorced. This means that the former spouses are no longer married to each other and they can apply for a Divorce Certificate. A Divorce Certificate acts as proof of a Divorce and allows either party to re-marry if they so choose.

In contrast to separation, which applies to all married or common law couples whose relationship has broken down; only married couples can obtain a Divorce.

If you would like to learn more about separation and divorce or other family law issues, you can visit our website. If you would like legal advice about your own situation please call us at 905-581-7222 for a consultation.

Thank you for watching.