Pursuant to the federal Divorce Act, a court may grant a divorce on the grounds that there has been a breakdown of the marriage.  A breakdown of the marriage can be established in one of three ways

1. Living Separate and Apart

One way a breakdown of the marriage is established is if spouses have lived separate and apart for at least one year before the divorce proceeding. A divorce will not be granted unless you have been separated from your spouse for at least one year or you have established one of the other bases for a breakdown of the marriage (adultery or mental or physical cruelty).

2. Adultery or Cruelty

A second way to show a breakdown of the marriage is to show the presence of adultery or of physical or mental cruelty.  The cruelty has to be to the level that it renders the continued cohabitation intolerable.  The one year waiting period may not apply if either adultery or cruelty is established. It is generally difficult to establish that a divorce should be granted earlier than one year on the basis of adultery or cruelty.