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How do I legally separate from my partner?

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How do I legally separate from my partner?
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Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General

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How do I legally separate from my partner?
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Reviewed: 
July 31, 2017
Answer

You only have to want to live "separate and apart" from your partner to legally separate from them. This means that you have:

  • decided that you want to end your marriage or common-law relationship, and
  • started to behave in a way that shows you want to end the relationship.

Only one of you has to want this for you to legally separate.

You don't have to go through a formal process or get a document to legally separate. But if you're married, you have to go through a formal process if you want to get a divorce.

After you separate, most people need to make important decisions on their family law issues. If you and your partner agree on your issues, you should put what you’ve agreed on in a written separation agreement. If you  can’t agree, you can ask a family law professional for help or ask a judge in court to decide.

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