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How long does it take to get a divorce in Ontario?

To some extent this will depend on the legal grounds you are relying on, in order to obtain your divorce.  Most people rely on the one-year separation period.

Specifically, under the Canadian federal Divorce Act, divorce proceedings can be officially commenced when you and your spouse have been living “separate and apart” for at least one year immediately preceding the end of the divorce proceeding, and who are also living separately when the divorce proceedings began.  The living separate and apart for that minimum period signals that there has been a breakdown of the marriage.

To determine whether this has been satisfied, the courts will look at the entirety of the relationship between the two of you.  This includes your living arrangements, financial commitments, child-related interactions, sexual activity, social presence, and how you and your spouse present yourself to other family members, friends, and the public generally.

However, divorce can also be obtained on a few, lesser-used grounds including:  adultery; or physical or mental cruelty that renders intolerable your continued cohabitation.   Although these grounds can “fast-track” your divorce, they are much harder to prove than physical separation.

Once you have proven one of the grounds, you will need to file for divorce.  Assuming it is uncontested, it usually takes a few months for the court to process it by way of a hearing.  Once the divorce order is formally granted, it takes another 31 days before the order takes legal effect.

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