The Canadian Bar Insurance Association

Mills & Mills LLP: Kristen Woods

When can a divorce be severed?


Rule 12(6) of the Family Law Rules allows a court to make an order splitting a divorce from the other issues in a case if

1. neither spouse will be disadvantaged and

2. reasonable arrangements have been made for the support of any children of the marriage.

Recent Cases

The case law on when a divorce can be severed was recently reviewed in Baginski v BaginskiIn this case, the parties had a separation agreement that allowed the wife to seek an uncontested divorce. The agreement also had a clause that the wife would provide medical insurance benefits coverage for her husband as long as it was available to her. The benefits coverage would end once the parties divorced.

After signing the separation agreement, the wife brought a motion for an order severing the divorce from the only other issue of parenting. The husband opposed the severance on the basis that he would be disadvantaged because of the loss of benefits coverage. The court reviewed the jurisprudence on whether the wife was entitled to sever the divorce.

In Al-Saati v Fahmi, the court held the word “disadvantaged” in Rule 12(6)(1) meant a legal disadvantage that the responding party may suffer if the severance was granted. In Mullins, Justice Emery noted the weight a court should give to a loss of insurance coverage as a disadvantage depends on the evidence of the particular case.

What Does This Mean?

From the jurisprudence, severance is granted on the particular evidence of each case. The court will assess whether the other party would suffer a legal disadvantage from the severance. A legal disadvantage is not found if the right is waived by the other party.

At Mills & Mills LLP, our family law lawyers are experienced in resolving matters effectively and efficiently, no matter the complexity of the situation. Our lawyers value the importance of keeping informed about new developments in family law, and in turn, our clients benefit from our extensive, up-to-date expertise. To speak with an experienced family law lawyer about the divorce process, contact us at 416­-863-0125 or send us an email.


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