If you don’t know much about divorce in Ontario, you might think that getting one is very expensive and time-consuming. But that’s not necessarily true.
Couples who both want to get a divorce, and who can work collaboratively to settle their issues, can complete the process in as little as 3 months. However there are several factors that could influence the time it takes, including children, division of assets, and even a change of heart.
But if you and your spouse are both certain that a simple divorce is what you want, here is how to do it.
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Only a Superior Court of Justice or a Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice can issue a Divorce Order, and there are specific documents that must be submitted to the court before a divorce can be considered legally valid. Keep in mind, you are only applying for divorce. If you and your spouse need to work out other issues, such as child custody or spousal support, you can make a separation agreement beforehand, or seek assistance from a lawyer. Ensure that there is a clear and comprehensive plan in place, especially when children are involved, otherwise the court may not grant you a divorce.
Submit the divorce Application to the court first. You will need to bring 3 copies of the Application as well as your marriage certificate and a cheque, cash or money order to pay for the court fees. The court office staff will then assign the case a court file number, place a court seal on the Application, and provide you with a Registration of Divorce Proceeding form to fill out. This document is sent to the federal Department of Justice to determine if the same party has registered any other divorce applications. If no other applications are found, a Clearance Certificate will be issued.
If you submitted the Application by yourself, a copy must be served to your spouse. However, you can also submit a Joint Application together, which could expedite the process by up to a month.
The opposing party will have 30 days to respond. If the divorce is uncontested, then the matter can proceed and the remaining documents can be filed to obtain a Divorce Order.
Once all of the necessary documents are filed, they will be presented to a judge. He or she will make sure you meet the conditions to get a divorce. If the judge approves, the court will issue a Divorce Order. It will take effect on the 31 day after the date the Divorce Order was granted.
The final step is to obtain a Certificate of Divorce, which can be picked up from the court office, or mailed to you.
It takes approximately 8 – 10 weeks to order and process everything, but length of time can vary depending on how busy the court is.
Divorce is never easy, but the process can be simplified. Contact us to schedule a consultation and learn how you can simplify your family law matter.