A Brief Introduction To Family Law in Canada

May 10, 2019

A Brief Introduction To Family Law in Canada

Family laws govern relationships between parents and their children and between spouses. Therefore, these laws are crucial to most Canadians. Subjects like marriage, divorce, separation, custody and parenting fall under federal jurisdiction. Other family issues such as matrimonial property disputes and adoption fall under provincial laws that may vary from province to province.

If you’re dealing with stressful family issues like separation or divorce, consult a reputable family lawyer. Family laws are rapidly evolving considering the emerging trends in traditional family structure. Rapidly changing circumstances lead to debates over the future of family law and provincial review of legislation.

Family laws in provinces and territories

Can you create your own parenting plan and develop strategies to help your children deal with divorce or separation? How are spousal support rules applied in Canada? Who can divorce in Canada, grounds for a divorce, or how can you apply for a divorce? Can the terms of divorce be changed? Only an experienced family lawyer can answer these questions based on your unique situation and the province you live in. Let’s take a look at some of the major components of family law in Edmonton and across Canada:

Separation and divorce

Separation refers to a legally recognized situation when spouses agree to legally end the marriage. It can be cited as grounds for divorce. The way you apply or seek a divorce depends on your province. For example, there is no divorce legislation existing in Quebec and the residents have to obtain a divorce through a private Act of Parliament. The first divorce act was established in 1968 which later replaced by the 1985 Divorce Act.

Obtaining a divorce can be a stressful process as it requires the proof of adultery or cruelty or the proof that the parties haven’t been living together for a year before the divorce proceedings. However, it is not mandatory that the parties had lived apart before filing the petition.


So far as marriage is concerned, this is governed by provincial laws. However, the Parliament exercises jurisdiction over marriage-related matters such as the age when people can marry and laws forbidding marriage between certain people.

A marriage can be annulled as a result of bigamy, mental incapacity, duress, a defective marriage ceremony, or the failure of a party to consummate the marriage due to mental or physical disability.


Custody of kids can become a critical issue when a couple decides to legally end the marriage. The custody of young children is not necessarily granted to mothers. Fathers can also win the custody especially in a situation where both parents are working full time. The court has the authority not to change the status quo. Third parties such as uncles and aunts can also seek visiting rights or custody. The Divorce Act of 1985 encourages contact between the child and both parents.

About Slaferek Law

Divorce and family law is a key component of our partner company, Callihoo Law. If you’re going through separation or divorce in Edmonton, we’re ready to provide practical family law advice, negotiation, and litigation services. Schedule a free consultation right now!

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