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Is Adultery a Crime in Canada

Is Adultery a Crime in Canada?

Adultery is considered to be a crime in many countries and states around the world. So what about Canada?

Can cheating on your partner take you behind bars in Canada?

No, in Canada, the law of the federal divorce act doesn’t consider adultery to be a crime at all. If you want to learn more, this blog will be your trusty guide to the legal maze of adultery and will show factors you should consider regarding this situation.

So, let’s get into it:

Adultery and Canadian Law

Adultery is a sensitive topic, especially when it comes to the legal system. It has a different legal status in Canada because of changing social norms and shifting attitudes toward fidelity. 

According to the federal divorce act in Canada, adultery isn’t directly a crime but is considered one of the main grounds for divorce. So, if you find that your partner is unfaithful while making out with other person and you do not agree with this, you can seek a divorce.

However, there are specific rules of ‘breakdown of marriage’ that must be met to be able to divorce in Canada, which are:

  • The couple have to live apart for a year
  • There’s been adultery between the spouses
  • The spouse seeking divorce has treated the other spouse badly enough that they can no longer live together.

How Does Adultery Affects Divorce Proceedings in Canada?

Adultery can be a ground for you to separate from your partner legally. If you find adultery in your partner, it depends on you how it will affect the relationship. 

Since we don’t have the same standard of living or separation ideas, some may still be living together and finding a cheating partner. In contrast, others may separate from their partner and try to have a legal divorce.

Let’s see how adultery affects divorce proceedings in Canada.

Ground for Divorce

Although adultery is a recognized ground for divorce, it isn’t necessary to prove fault to get a divorce in Canada. This means that a spouse can initiate divorce proceedings based on other spouse’s infidelity.

Property Division

During a divorce, adultery can impact property division. It may include the distribution of assets and debts acquired during the marriage. When dividing marital assets, the court may consider extramarital affairs. For instance, if any spouse used marital funds to support other activities, the court will include that.

Custody and Access

If the spouse decides to get apart due to adultery and they have children, it will greatly impact custody and access decisions for children. The court will consider the child’s best interest if they are older enough to express their decision.

In case the incident had a negative impact on the children or the child isn’t able to make their decision, the court will make decisions about their care and well-being.

7 Factors to Consider When Filing for Divorce Based on Adultery

Divorce isn’t always easeful and straightforward for all people. And if the case is for adultery, it is even more stressful. If you are in such a situation and are considering getting divorced, here are some things you should consider before –


Timing is a crucial factor to consider because when you find out about adultery, you might be shocked. You may need a little bit of time to overcome the situation.It isn’t good to make a sudden decision to divorce your spouse at that time, especially if you have children. Divorce can badly impact children’s lives.

There are many cases where spouses make the divorce decision and then break it, considering the children’s future. If the cheating spouse admits their fault and the other spouse agrees, they may need a period to conclude.


If adultery is the only reason for getting separated, then it won’t require you to show evidence to prove your partner’s fault. Because Canadian Law doesn’t consider it so important to show evidence to the court as it is not an illegal issue in Canada.

However, if the divorce case goes to a custody battle, then evidence will become a crucial factor in the divorce proceedings. Based on the importance, you can preserve any relevant evidence, such as photographs, emails, texts, or witness statements that support your case.

Impact on Children

When filing for divorce based on adultery, the impact on children is a major factor to consider. Whether it is just a matter of infidelity or expands to divorce, it’s important to keep the children’s priority above all. 

Sometimes parents can have narcissistic behaviour, so they want to keep their children on their side no matter what. Whatever happens, both parents should take prior children’s responsibility.

Property Division

Property division is a matter of thinking when it comes to divorce. If you find your partner cheating and want to divorce him, you should consider property division, as it can be complex and contentious, especially in cases involving adultery.

In this regard, you need to consider how infidelity may impact property division, including the distribution of assets and debts.

Spousal Support

Adultery may also impact spousal support decisions, although it is not an essential part of divorce or separation. According to the law, you and your spouse can negotiate spousal support payments or ask the judge to fix this for you.

Spousal support can be set up as a part of separation agreement. The amount of spousal support depends on several factors. You can find a family law professional for the best support regarding this.

Legal Representation

Whether it is the case of adultery, divorce or custody, legal representation is a must. If you don’t find legal counsel, you are in serious trouble and face many legal problems. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can help you with support and guidance throughout the process. It is also important to navigate the systems properly while protecting your rights.

Emotional Well-being

Divorce can be an emotionally challenging process, especially when adultery is involved. Therefore, it is important to protect your emotional well-being by seeking support from friends and family or working with a therapist.

Also, taking care of yourself during this time can help you make the best decisions for yourself and your future.

In a Nutshell

Finally, we have learned from the above discussion that adultery isn’t a criminal offence in Canada. But it can have a significant impact on divorce proceedings. When filing for divorce based on adultery, it’s important to consider several factors, including evidence, impact on children, emotional stress etc.

Since the process can be emotional and challenging, taking care of one’s well-being and making informed decisions can help ensure a successful outcome. Besides, seeking the guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer will get your rights protected and help you receive the best possible outcome.


Is it Illegal to Cheat on Your Spouse in Canada?

No, cheating on your spouse isn't illegal in Canada. However, it can have legal implications in cases involving divorce and property division.

What Is Considered a Criminal Offence in Canada?

In Canada, a criminal offence is any act or omission prohibited by the criminal code of Canada. Criminal offences can range from serious offences such as murder, assault, and theft to lesser offences like disturbing the peace and mischief. If an individual is convicted of a criminal offence, they may face penalties such as imprisonment, fines, and criminal record.

Does Cheating Affect Divorce Settlement in Canada?

Yes, infidelity can have an impact on divorce settlement in Canada.

What is Considered Adultery in Canada?

In Canada, adultery is defined as a sexual relationship between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. Adultery is not a criminal offence in Canada, but it can have legal implications in divorce.

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