While it may be obvious, the first step in any divorce is separating from your spouse. In most cases, you must be living separate and apart from your spouse for at least one year prior to a obtaining an order for divorce. You may apply to the court for a divorce prior to being separated for a year; however, your divorce will not be granted until you reach the one-year mark. Additionally, in order to apply for a divorce in Nova Scotia, one party must be ordinarily resident in Nova Scotia for at least one year.

There are lots decisions that need to be made when you are separating from your spouse. Where will your children live? Who will make the decisions? Will there be any spousal support? How will your property be divided? While a final divorce order will incorporate these things, it should only be left up to a judge to decide as a last resort. You may want to consider a separation agreement while you are separated from your spouse but have not yet applied for a divorce.

There are two main types of divorce: contested and uncontested divorces. Uncontested divorces occur when both parties agree on all of the issues and you are simply asking the court to grant the divorce. You can apply for an uncontested divorce one of two ways:

  1. Joint Application for Divorce: A Joint Application is an application for divorce where both parties apply for the divorce as co-applicants and agree on all of the issues regarding custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, and property division.
  2. Divorce by Written Agreement: A Divorce by Written Agreement is appropriate if there is already a separation agreement in place. One party applies for the divorce and must serve the application on the other party after it is filed with the court.

A contested divorce occurs when the parties to a divorce cannot agree on one or more of the issues arising from the separation. The application is called a Petition for Divorce. The spouse who makes the application is the Petitioner and the documents must be personally served on the other spouse who is called the Respondent. The Respondent can file an Answer that provides the details of their position regarding the issues within a specified period of time.
If the divorce is contested there are alternatives to going to a hearing before a judge such as mediation and settlement conferences. Court can be costly and even more emotionally draining a time that is already stressful and emotional.

At Singleton & Associates we have experience with assisting clients through their separation and divorce with satisfactory results. Please contact our office if you are interested in setting up a consultation.