10933 Jane St, Maple, ON L6A 1S1, Canada

2 County Ct Blvd Suite 400, Brampton, ON L6W 3W8

21 King Street West, 5th Floor, Hamilton, Ontario L8P 4W7

45 Sheppard Ave E Suite 100, Toronto, ON M2N 5W9, Canada

2 St. Clair Avenue West, 18th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M4V 1L5

Divorce and Adultery Laws in Canada


“I’ve never walked out from a court session with him disappointed…

Barry really saved my life and my son in that situation”

Divorce and Adultery Laws in Canada

In Canada, divorce is governed by the federal Divorce Act. The only ground for divorce is the “breakdown of marriage”, which can be proven in three ways:

  1. The spouses have lived separate and apart for one year;
  2. The spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is brought has committed adultery; or
  3. The spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is sought has treated the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty such that continued cohabitation has become intolerable.

Adultery Law in Canada

While adultery is a legislated ground for divorce, it is rarely pursued by divorce lawyers. As with most claims made to the court, the moving party has the onus of proving that adultery took place. While it is not necessary to catch one’s spouse in the act, or even provide photo or video evidence of the affair, proving the act can be a demanding task – one that is often not worth the time or expense.

The practical reality is that it often takes more than one year for the courts to decide the issue of adultery, at which point the ground of living separate and apart for one year will be satisfied. Accordingly, the moving party seeking to establish adultery could have saved the associated legal fees had they waited for the one-year separation period to expire.

Internet Affairs

In light of our technological society, “internet affairs” are becoming more and more common. However, courts generally only recognize physical sexual relationships as qualifying as adultery, rather than sexual activities that take place from a distance.

Contact Nussbaum Family Law to book a free consultation with one of our Toronto divorce lawyers.

Did You Know

Most abusers’ behaviour stems from feelings of privilege and entitlement and learned attitudes.

These can be extremely challenging to change. They must be deeply committed to making lasting changes to their behaviour. 

Published On:February 6, 2018