Divorce is the only way to legally end a marriage. A judge can make a divorce order after a married couple has lived apart for one year. The judge doesn’t need any other reason to make a divorce order. Even if one person in the marriage doesn’t want the divorce to happen, the judge can order the divorce.
A judge can also order a divorce based on adultery (making love to someone you aren’t married to) or physical or mental cruelty. In those cases, the judge can make that order before the couple has lived apart for a year. But the legal reason for most divorces is that the couple has been living apart for a year.
Very few divorce cases involve a trial. A large majority of divorces are ordered based on a judge reviewing documents that one or both people file with the court asking for a divorce. If a couple cannot agree on how to share parenting, financial support for the children or one of the spouses or how to divide property, they can get help from lawyers, mediator or family justice counsellors. If they still can’t reach an agreement, the court will decide these things.