Expertise / Family Divorce in Québec

Whether you’re the one who wants to file for divorce from your spouse, or the one who has just been served with your spouse’s divorce petition, we’re here to help.

While many questions can be answered with the help of the guides, sample letters and forms in our legal toolkit, an independent jurist affiliated with PSP Legal will always be happy to help you by answering any questions you may have.

Of course, if you prefer to have an experienced practitioner take charge of your situation and intervene directly and quickly on your behalf, you can also request that one of the independent jurists affiliated with PSP Legal represent you by clicking here.


What is a divorce application?

A divorce application in Quebec is a legal proceeding that is prepared by one spouse against the other, the main conclusion of which is to obtain a divorce. This application may also include conclusions sought for measures and accessory measures.


Possible outcomes of a divorce

  1. Division of the family patrimony;
  2. Use of the family home;
  3. Payment of child or spousal support;
  4. Custody of the spouses’ children.

Several documents must be attached to the divorce petition. For example, the application will usually be accompanied by an affidavit from the party requesting the divorce. A notice of summons may also be attached.

The application must state the grounds on which divorce between the spouses is sought.

It is also possible for spouses who agree on the division of the family patrimony and other aspects ancillary to the divorce to file a joint application for divorce.


What are the grounds for divorce?

To obtain a divorce in Quebec, one or both spouses must prove one of the grounds for marriage breakdown.

These grounds, which are set out in section 8(2) of the Divorce Act , are as follows:

  1. The spouses have lived separate and apart for at least one year prior to the granting of the divorce decree, and were living separate and apart at the time the divorce application was filed;
  2. The spouse against whom divorce is sought has committed adultery;
  3. The spouse against whom the divorce is sought has treated the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty making it difficult or even impossible to continue living together.à

These grounds are not cumulative: proof of any one of them is sufficient to obtain a divorce. Moreover, this list of grounds is exhaustive. No grounds other than those set out in section 8(2) of the Divorce Act will be accepted by the court. 


For a detailed explanation, see the Éducaloi page:


Separation of more than one (1) year: calculation rules

The most common reason for filing for divorce in Quebec is separation of more than one (1) year.

Section 8(3) of the Divorce Act sets out the rules for calculating the one (1) year period required to obtain a divorce in certain cases.

Essentially, the spouses live separately from the moment they intend to do so. Thus, spouses living under the same roof may live separately within the meaning of the Divorce Act if this is their intention.

Case law has established certain criteria for concluding that the spouses were living apart at the time proceedings were instituted and for at least one (1) year at the time of the divorce judgment.


Criteria for concluding that the spouses were living apart

  1. The spouses sleep separately;
  2. The spouses no longer have sexual relations;
  3. The spouses no longer speak to each other;
  4. The spouses no longer provide mutual services;
  5. The spouses eat their meals separately;
  6. Spouses no longer have a social life;
  7. The spouses go out separately.


Joint divorce application

Spouses who wish to file a joint petition for divorce may do so. However, they must indicate that the reason for obtaining the divorce is separation of more than one (1) year at the time the divorce judgment is rendered. Since no one can invoke his or her own turpitude, adultery and physical or mental cruelty cannot be alleged by both spouses in a joint application for divorce.  


How we can help

Our legal toolkit includes a variety of online resources and links to templates and guides to help you better understand your obligations.

However, should the Legal Toolkit prove insufficient in your situation, you can obtain additional assistance by speaking with one of PSP Legal’s affiliated jurists:

Of course, if you prefer to have an experienced practitioner handle your situation, you can always request that one of the independent jurists affiliated with PSP Legal intervene on your behalf by clicking here. He or she will then be able to intervene directly and rapidly on your behalf by:

  • Preparing, negotiating and drafting applications, procedures or any other legal documents related to your situation;
  • Assisting and advising you on your legal rights and obligations;
  • Representing you before the courts when legal action is taken;
  • Guiding you through the choices available to you, leading to a fair and satisfactory solution.


PSP Legal, because you deserve expert advice!

Ressources Receive our newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter