Divorce in Manitoba

Although most couples marry with the intention of living together until death separates them, some marriages breakdown making it necessary for the parties involved to terminate their marital union. In Manitoba, Canada, couples can legally end their marriage by filling for divorce. With that in mind, here is some more information on the divorce process in the Canadian province of Manitoba:

The Legal Framework for Divorce in Manitoba

There are two main laws that govern divorce in Manitoba. These include the federal Divorce Act and the Court of Queen’s Bench rules, Manitoba Regulation 553/88. In general, the Divorce Act is applicable across all Canadian provinces while the regulations in the Court of Queen’s Bench Rules are only applicable to divorce applications submitted in Manitoba courts.

Grounds for Getting a Divorce in Manitoba

The Manitoba Divorce Act stipulates that a court of law can only grant divorce on one condition: the breakdown of a marriage. In addition, this act covers the legally acceptable grounds for getting divorced in Manitoba. These grounds include:

Separation

If your divorce application cites separation as grounds for marriage dissolution, you must produce evidence of living separately and apart from your spouse for at least one year. However, the Divorce Act allows for reconciliation during this period. Under the reconciliation provision, estranged couples can try to live together for up to 90 days. If they are not able to resolve their differences, they can resume living separately. The good news is this 90-day period does not affect in any way the calculation of the one-year separation period.

Adultery

One can file for divorce if his/her spouse has engaged in adulterous activities. This means at fault party had voluntary/consensual sexual relations with another person of either sex. It is worth noting that engaging in voluntary sexual intercourse while living separately from your spouse is admissible as grounds for divorce. Nevertheless, the aggrieved party must prove that adultery took place without his/her tacit approval or knowledge.

Mental or physical cruelty

If your spouse has subjected you to intolerable physical or mental cruelty, you can use this as grounds for filing divorce application in Manitoba. In this case, you would have to prove that the cruelty was “grave and weighty” in nature. As such, you cannot cite petty squabbles or differences that couples usually have as grounds for divorce.

The Court of Queen’s Bench

In Manitoba, the Court of Queen’s Bench or Family Division specializes in hearing and litigating matters that revolve around family law. This means divorce falls under its legal authority. Furthermore, the Court of Queen’s Bench works closely with a provincial government unit called “Family Conciliation.” This unit has professional counselors who help families resolve issues such as child custody.

Filing a Divorce Application

According to rule 70 of the Court of Queen’s Bench Act, one must get documents for filing a divorce application from a court of law. In Manitoba, the divorce application fee is $150 payable by money order or cash to the Minister of Finance. This is in addition to a $10 fee for processing a central divorce registry certificate.

Divorce Proceedings

After filing divorce application, the at-fault party will be served with a notice called an “answer”and required to present their position in court. If respondent is untraceable, courts usually publish “substitutional service” notices in local newspapers and allow divorce case to proceed.

In contested divorce suits, each party has chance to testify under oath or affirmation. The presiding judge will evaluate evidence adduced in court and make a fair ruling. On the other hand, uncontested divorce suits do not necessarily have to go through the same process if parties involved present a draft agreement in court. In this case, the judge will review agreement and ratify it if it is fair to both parties.

In case children are involved, section 11 of the Divorce Act requires reasonable support arrangements to be made before divorce can be granted. What’s more, the couple seeking a divorce must fully address spousal support and property division arrangements. Besides going to court, couples can opt for mediation services offered free of charge by Family Conciliation.

Conclusion

For a divorce application to succeed in Manitoba, it must comply with the federal Divorce Act as well as the Court of Queen’s Bench Rules. Acceptable grounds for divorce include adultery, mental or physical cruelty, and separation.The cost of filing such an application is roughly $160 exclusive of a divorce laywer fees and charges.


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