There are 3 legally accepted grounds for divorce, according to the Divorce Act:

  • separation
  • adultery
  • cruelty


Separation is when you and your spouse have lived apart for at least 1 year before a divorce judgment is made by the court.

You can start the divorce action during the 1-year period, but you must wait until the year has passed to file for a divorce.

Due to financial or other family circumstances, you and your spouse may decide to live in the same home during the year of separation. You’ll be required to provide evidence that you were separated during that time.

You’re allowed to resume your relationship with your spouse for up to 90 days during the 1-year separation.


Adultery is when either spouse has cheated by having sex with someone else during their marriage.

If your spouse committed adultery, you can file on these grounds anytime after it becomes known.


This is when either spouse commits physical or mental cruelty to the other spouse, including:

  • violence
  • constant verbal abuse (eg, insults or threats)
  • drunkenness
  • excessive drug use

Your spouse’s cruelty must be so severe that it makes living together impossible. Cruelty only has to occur once. In this situation, you can file for a divorce at anytime. Adultery must be proven in court, either by evidence or getting the person who committed adultery to sign an affidavit. Evidence of cruelty is required.

Before you apply

Before you file for a divorce, we encourage you to:

If you have dependent children

You’ll be required to take the Parenting After Separation course.

If you were married outside of Canada

You can file for divorce in Alberta if you or your partner have lived in Alberta for 1 year.

How to apply

Step 1. Fill out the claim form

Statement of Claim for Divorce (PDF, 0.1 MB)

Step 2. File and serve your claim form

File the form at the courthouse. You will also have to serve it to your spouse, either by mail or in person.

There is a $260 fee for filing this form.

If you need help filling out this form you can speak with a court forms information coordinator for assistance.

Step 3. Wait for a response

Your spouse has a certain amount of time to respond to your Statement of Claim for Divorce:

  • 20 days if they’ re in Alberta
  • 1 month if they’re in another Canadian province
  • 2 months if they’re outside Canada

Step 4. File the remaining forms

Depending on your spouse’s response to the claim form, you’ll need to fill out additional forms at the courthouse, which will then be reviewed by a justice of the court.

Find additional divorce forms

If you need help finding the right form you can speak with a court forms information coordinator for assistance.

Step 5. Receive your divorce judgement

If your divorce is approved a justice of the court will sign your Divorce Judgement form (PDF, 0.1 MB).

This form will be mailed to you.

Step 6. Wait 31 days

31 days after your Divorce Judgment form has been signed: