In Alberta, as in all of Canada, a divorce can occur when there has been a breakdown in the marriage. Either spouse can file this application with the appropriate court as long as you have been living separately for at least one year before filing the documents. You can also bring a divorce proceeding if you can prove that your spouse committed adultery or if he or she has mentally, verbally or physically abused you so much that there is no tolerance left and you cannot stand it any longer.
Living apart means that you both agreed that it is best to live separately and that both of you had the intention of living apart. The exception to this rule is if you cohabitated after you began living separately with the sole intention of reconciling. The limit for this exception is 90 days.
You need a lawyer on your case because it is one’s obligation by law to advise you correctly about what the statutes and rules of law say regarding your divorce. A legal advocates also has to at least try to encourage you to reconcile and try your marriage one last time. If it is inappropriate to do so, your legal counsel will tell you. If you have been abused you most likely do not want to try to reconcile.
You lawyer is also under an obligation to encourage you to negotiate with your spouse regarding all matters in divorce such as child support and custody, debt and asset distribution and spousal support. Your counsel will also have to verify in writing on every document that is provided to the court that he or she told you these things and did his or her best to get you to comply.
Source: Divorce Act of Canada, “Divorce,” accessed Jan. 26, 2016