Divorce is necessary to bring legal finality to a marriage.
If you are separated, you are still considered married under the Divorce Act until you get a divorce.
There is legal importance in getting a divorce. First, it allows you to remarry. Second, it ends the legal definition of “spouse” under some of the legislation which may affect your rights and obligations.
Life insurance policies, RRSP’s, your pension plan, as well as coverages under your health benefits, all have legal definitions of “spouse”, so you might want to consider changing your beneficiary designations.
The distribution of your Estate may be affected if you pass away without a Will and you are not divorced. If this happens, then your spouse will get a sizeable preferential share of your Estate under the Succession Law Reform Act, even if you were separated.
An uncontested divorce is usually easy to obtain after one year of separation if all other issues are resolved by way of a separation agreement or a court order. If children are involved the court must be satisfied that reasonable arrangements have been made for their support before the divorce is granted.
You will need your Marriage Certificate when you file for a divorce. You can apply online for one if you do not have it.