Divorce in Canada is a federal responsibility and the basic law is found in the Divorce Act. Although there are several possible grounds for obtaining a divorce set out in the Act, most people rely on the grounds of having been separated from their spouse for a period of at least 12 months prior to the date the divorce is to be granted.

The Divorce Act also contains provisions dealing with child custody and access, child support and spousal support, as well as making changes or variations to existing terms of a divorce judgment or order.

The Province of Ontario has jurisdiction over the property issues associated with marriage breakdown, and the basic law is found in the Family Law Act.

A person could bring a court application for child custody, access, and support, and spousal support without bringing a divorce action.