Sometimes a marriage does not work out between two people. If you feel like your marriage is no longer a good thing for you and your husband, you can take action to end it. This may mean different things depending on whether your sponsorship application is being processed or you have already been granted permanent resident status.
One action to end your marriage is to separate from each other. This means living apart from each other. You will need to satisfy the law that the marriage has ended, that is, you are no longer living as a married couple. If you continue to live in the same residence, you must keep yourself completely separate from your husband and conduct your life as if your husband is not living in the same place as you are.
Once you have separated, you can file for divorce immediately. Your divorce can be granted as early as one year after you have legally separated. In the case of adultery, emotional or physical abuse you may be able to obtain a divorce in less than a year.
If you are separated, you can still receive financial support from your husband, which is called “interim support.” Interim support is the only kind of support that can be granted before you receive a divorce. A judge decides the amount of interim support.
- Separation Agreement
- Implications for Sponsorship – Application Being Processed
- Implications for Sponsorship – Permanent Resident Status Granted
You can also set up a “separation agreement” with your husband, which is a legally binding contract but is not decided by a judge or in court. You and your husband can discuss this agreement together without any outside help or you can go to a mediator or a lawyer to help you with this. The topics of a separation agreement can include financial support, both for you and any children you may have together, custody issues such as when each of you will see your children, and the division of matrimonial property. If you and your husband have a “separation agreement,” a judge will usually not go against this order if you do end up in court because the legal system encourages separated couples to work together to decide what is best for them.
Implications for Sponsorship – Application Being Processed
If your sponsorship application is still being processed and you are not yet a permanent resident of Canada, separation from your husband could affect your status because you are no longer considered part of the Family Class. Most likely, you would have to leave Canada and reapply to enter. There may be exceptions to this. It is important to consult a lawyer about your situation. If you feel you cannot afford a lawyer, you may be eligible to receive legal aid.
Implications for Sponsorship – Permanent Resident Status Granted
Once your permanent resident status has been granted, the sponsorship agreement is legally binding whether you and your husband remain together, separate, or divorce. This means that if you are already a permanent resident and you have separated from your husband, your status will not change and your husband still has a legal obligation for the three years of the sponsorship agreement to financially support you and any children you have together. Legally, your husband cannot use sponsorship as a way to keep you in the marriage if you do not want the marriage to continue.