3 kinds of divorce and what they each mean

February 6, 2014

Many people have experienced the end of a marriage. It can be bitter and negotiations must be handled with care. Here are three kinds of divorce.

3 kinds of divorce and what they each mean

Divorce means different things to different people

For better or worse, separation and divorce are par for the course for a significant number of couples.

Divorce is never easy; splitting up can sometimes deteriorate into conflict. And on top of that, many people think of themselves as failures because they were unable to make their marriages work.

For other people, divorce may be the start of positive change and a new life.

A difficult step to take

The circumstances surrounding a separation can affect the speed and complexity of the divorce process.

Although some divorces can be settled amicably, others are full of discord, especially when it involves the sharing of property, child custody and child or spousal support. The negotiation of such matters is usually charged with emotion and can quickly turn into a battleground for both spouses.

  • Hiring a lawyer can be a good way to step out of personal conflict and move toward more effective negotiations.

1. Joint divorce

When two married people no longer want to share their lives together, they file jointly for divorce.

  • Joint, or "amicable," divorce means that spouses are co-plaintiffs and fill out the same paperwork.
  • Spouses agree on the terms of their divorce. For example, the spouses must agree on spousal support, alimony, child support and the division of assets.
  • If the spouses use the services of the same lawyer to draft their divorce proceedings, the lawyer in question should not favour the position of either of the two applicants.

2. Divorce by "mutual consent"

Even if they agree about the divorce process, the spouses are not required to file for divorce together. Here, the spouses prefer to be represented independently of each other by their own lawyers.

  • Although no-fault divorces are increasingly common, in most places a spouse may cite adultery or physical or mental cruelty as grounds for the divorce.
  • Spouses who do not agree on child custody or the division of property might also fall into this category.
  • Spouses can also draw up a signed consent form that may eventually be settled in court and be part of the divorce judgement between the spouses.

3. No-fault divorce

Here in Canada, couples can file for no-fault divorce.

  • The only requirement to prove “marriage breakdown” is one year of living separately.
  • Otherwise, a couple must prove wrongdoing by one of the spouses, namely adultery or physical or mental cruelty.

What a lawyer can do for you

The expertise of a lawyer can be helpful, no matter which divorce process is chosen.

  • A divorce lawyer or family lawyer should be able to give you all the information and support necessary for a hassle-free divorce.
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