How To File For A Divorce In Ontario?

Statue of lady justice holding scales of justice and gavel on wooden table

While a divorce is a challenging process, having a clear picture of the steps involved and legal requirements makes it tolerable. Work with an experienced family lawyer who updates you routinely and is there to answer your questions and concerns. Depending on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, the timeline changes slightly. 

What are the Grounds for Divorce in Ontario?

In Ontario, the Divorce Act governs the process of obtaining a divorce. To file for a divorce, you must have a valid reason. The most common ground is living physically separate for at least one year. Other grounds include adultery and mental or physical cruelty, but they are less common as you need to provide proof to justify them.

Step 1: Ensure You Meet the Eligibility Criteria

You or your spouse must have lived in Ontario for at least one year preceding your divorce application as it is the most important requirement by Ontario courts. 

Step 2: Prepare the Necessary Documentation

Application for Divorce is the main document you have to fill out. It outlines your grounds for divorce and any claims regarding child custody, support, or property division. You can find all necessary forms online through the Ontario Court Services website.

A family lawyer is showing a person how to file a divorce in ontario

Step 3: Filing Your Application

Once your application is prepared, file it at the Superior Court of Justice or the Family Branch of the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario. There is a filing fee, please visit the Ontario Court Services website for the updated amount. After filing, you must serve the application on your spouse, which means delivering it in a manner that follows legal protocols.

Step 4: Responding to the Application

Your spouse has 30 days to respond if they reside in Canada. If they agree with the application, the process can be straightforward. However, if they disagree or file their own claims, the process may become more complex and will potentially require legal assistance or mediation.

Step 5: Deciding the Legal Process

If your divorce is uncontested, it may proceed relatively quickly. However, contested divorces often require more time and legal intervention. This may involve court appearances, negotiations, and, in some cases, a trial.

Step 6: Finalizing the Divorce

Once all issues are resolved and the required separation period has passed, you can request a divorce order. A judge will review and approve your application and then grant a Divorce Order. It takes around 31 days after the order for your to be final, and you receive a Certificate of Divorce.

Important Considerations

  • Legal Representation: While it’s possible to file for divorce without a lawyer, legal advice is invaluable, especially in cases involving children, support, or property.
  • Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: Two effective ways to resolve disputes outside of court, often leading to a more amicable resolution.
  • Children and Support: Understand your roles and responsibilities when it comes to child support and custody. 

Remember, every divorce case is unique, and what applies to one situation may not apply to another. If you’re looking for a divorce lawyer in Brampton, our experienced lawyers at Sterling Law are here to help you. Please reach out to us for a free consultation (first time clients only and for 30 minutes) This blog is only for educational purposes and information may be inaccurate. For more detailed information, visit the Ontario Court Services website.

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