Deciding to get a divorce is often difficult and stressful, but fortunately the actual application process can be fairly straightforward. Ontario makes submitting a divorce application a relatively simple process, one where you complete the required divorce papers and deliver them to the appropriate court in your area. If you and your spouse are in agreement about the major issues in the divorce – child custody, child support, etc. - then you can expect a timely divorce upon your application. CompleteCase.com can make the divorce application process in Ontario even easier. Our online form preparation service will assist you in choosing the correct divorce papers for your situation, and help you make sure those forms are filled out completely and accurately.
If you and your spouse are not in agreement about major issues, you may find it useful to work with a divorce mediator to resolve your differences. Mediation in Ontario allows you to meet with your spouse and a professional mediator, someone trained in helping divorcing couples reach agreements on tough issues. Working with a mediator can help you avoid a long, expensive legal battle. If you’re situation is more complex, then you may consider seeking the assistance of a divorce attorney.
The following information can help you understand the basics of getting a divorce in Ontario, and how you can start the divorce process for yourself.
In 2008, according to data from Statistics Canada, the divorce rate in Ontario was 23 for every 10,000 residents. This places Ontario's divorce rate in the middle among the provinces and territories.
Ontario allows two main types of divorce, fault-based and no-fault. The province accepts two different grounds for a fault-based divorce – adultery and extreme cruelty. Most people choose to seek a no-fault divorce, as it avoids the need to place blame on either spouse for the end of the marriage, and is usually a faster and less expensive way to get divorced.
To qualify for a no-fault divorce in Ontario, you and your spouse must have lived separate and apart for at least one year with the intent that you are ending your marriage. You do not have to be living in separate residences, necessarily. It is enough to state that the marriage has been broken for at least one year, even if you have had to share a home for certain reasons, such as children or financial reasons. Ontario requires that either you or your spouse have lived in the province for one year before you can submit your application. Canadian citizenship is not a requirement to get a divorce.
The divorce papers required for Ontario will depend on your individual circumstances, such as whether you and your spouse are filing jointly, if you have children and if you are seeking spousal support. Some of the most common divorce forms include the “Simple Divorce Application” and the “Joint Divorce Application”.
It is always advisable to read over all available information you can find about divorce so you are aware of what your options are. The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General website is an excellent resource for this information. You can also find a list of all family law forms for Ontario on the Ontario Court Services website.
If you find the long list of possible forms a bit overwhelming, understand that this is normal. There are a number of different options you can choose, but unless you have a legal background it may be confusing to try and determine exactly which one is right for you. For many people, it is easier to get their divorce papers online from CompleteCase.com. If you qualify for an uncontested divorce, with our service, you know you are filling out the right divorce forms for your situation, and you’ll get the help you need to complete them completely and accurately. This can help you prevent unnecessary delays to completing your divorce.
When you have completed your divorce papers for Ontario, you will need to take them to your local Ontario courthouse to file them. You will need to pay the necessary court fees before your application will be processed. It may be worthwhile to call ahead to your local court to verify that you are bringing all of the correct documents and that you are bringing a form of payment accepted by the court.
When you file your divorce paperwork, the court clerk will inform you of any additional steps you need to take – one of which will be to serve copies of the divorce documents to your spouse. The exact process that follows after filing will depend on your situation.
Ontario courts require that all parties involved in a legal proceeding be notified of the situation. When you “serve” your spouse the divorce papers, you are notifying him or her about what is happening and giving him or her the opportunity to respond. For your divorce application to be processed, you must serve your spouse and notify the court that you have done so, usually by having the person who served the papers complete an “Affidavit of Service” and submit it to the court.
Ontario does not allow you to serve your spouse directly. You must have a third party deliver the documents to your spouse in person. The person serving the papers must be over 18 and must not be a party in the divorce proceedings. If you do not want to choose someone personally to serve the papers, you can hire a private process server. Once you pay the fee, the private process server will deliver the documents to your spouse and will complete the affidavit of service.
After your spouse has been served he or she will have the opportunity to contest the divorce. If you are fortunate enough to be in agreement with your spouse on all matters in the divorce, the process can be completed relatively quickly. If you do not agree, you and your spouse will need to argue your case in front of a judge, and you can expect the divorce to take some time as each issue is determined by the court.