What to do if Your Spouse Refuses a Divorce

What To Do If Your Spouse Refuses A Divorce

Divorce is something that is not easily acceptable for everyone. Many times, people are so used to living with someone that they cannot tolerate any changes in their life, let alone affection and emotional attachment. For some people, it is hard to realize that something needs to be changed in their life. This reluctant behaviour makes it difficult to get an uncontested divorce. Although Canadian law allows a divorce without even a spouse’s consent, it’s much easier with consent. The Divorce act was established by the Canadian Law in 1968.

So, in the case of a resisting spouse, there are few ways that can lead one spouse towards a successful divorce. These are basically the three grounds based on which the divorce can be filed: Either spouse living separately for at least 12 months, Domestic violence, and Adultery. These three grounds come under the Divorce Act, Section 8(2)

For someone to be eligible to file a divorce, it requires any one of the criteria mentioned above. Once a spouse is eligible, there are different divorce types:

  1. Joint Divorce
  2. Uncontested Divorce
  3. Contested Divorce

The easiest one is the first one.

Joint Divorce

It is when both the partners agree mutually for a divorce. It is the easiest and most comfortable way of filing a divorce and get it processed fast. While the other two can get a little trickier.

Uncontested Divorce

In this scenario, one spouse files the divorce while the other does not respond. It gets complex because there is a time limit of 30 days for the other spouse to respond. In some cases, it becomes really frustrating and anxiety-inducing for the spouse who has filed the divorce. To wait for 30 days without the knowledge of the final decision is exhausting, especially when it’s about your marriage.

Contested Divorce

A ‘contested’ divorce means that one spouse files the divorce and the other does not ‘consent’ to it. This means that the other spouse (who is filing) will have to prove any of the three grounds by the Divorce Act, Section 8(2).

The most common of these grounds is the first one, where the spouse is living separately for at least a year. Being eligible to file a standalone divorce, while you think that your spouse will not consent to it, you need to live apart.

However, the second one leads us to ‘Cruelty’ or domestic violence in simple words. Although the term ‘cruelty’ does not only refer to domestic violence. Proof of mental disturbance can also become a ground for divorce under this section.

The third one about ‘Adultery’ gets very sensitive if the filing spouse tries to forge the evidence. In many cases, a judge cross checks for ‘collusion’ or ‘connivance.’


Once all the possibilities are considered, there is one thing that is crucial to understand. And that is honesty and transparency throughout the divorce. Trying to prove any of the grounds by any fraudulent means can make it more difficult and, in some cases, punishable.

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Written by: the Divorce Fast Team

Our team of Ontario lawyers has over 15 years of experience handling divorce and other family law matters.

All of our lawyers are in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario, and have the knowledge and experience to help and guide you through your family law issues. Whether your matter pertains to divorce, separation, custody/access, or support claims, we are the firm for you.

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