In Ontario, a separation agreement is unenforceable unless made in writing, signed by the parties and witnessed.This written agreement usually resolves all issues arising from the separation, including custody and access, child support, spousal support and the division of property.This could only be obtained on the grounds of adultery, cruelty, or "unnatural practices" (a concept never defined by the legislature or the courts).Post-1989 judicial depression is possible on one of six grounds, proven on the balance of probabilities: Of the six grounds, the latter forms the basis of the vast majority of judicial separation decrees. The court must only be satisfied that there has been the loss of an "essential ingredient of the marriage".The legitimacy of any future child born to the couple remains intact, and the spouses may not legally remarry.This type of separation allows the couple to live apart without concerns about being taken to court for "desertion".However, a legal separation does not mean dissolution of the marriage; under a legal separation court order, the couple will remain married and be recognized under law as a married couple.
A legal separation, also referred to as a “judicial separation,” or “divorce a mensa et thoro,” is a legal process undertaken by a married couple to make a separation legally recognized by the courts and by applicable laws.
This physical separation may give the two of them a chance to work out the problems in their relationship, while residing in legally sanctioned separate dwellings.
Spouses may also request an a mensa et thoro separation to protect themselves from accusations of desertion or abandonment—such as in cases where one must depart from the other for an extended period of time.
Some couples obtain a legal separation as an alternative to a divorce, based on moral or religious objections to divorce.
Legal separation does not automatically lead to divorce.