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Divorce in Ontario

**Divorce

How do I get a divorce?
In order to legally end your marriage, you must apply to the court for a divorce. An application for divorce can only be filed in a Superior Court of Justice or Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice.

 

 

How long does it take to get a divorce?

A divorce will not be granted unless you have been separated from your spouse for at least one year or you have established one of the other bases for a breakdown of the marriage (adultery or mental or physical cruelty).

 

 

If you have already been separated for at least a year, an application for divorce that does not include other claims, such as custody or access, support or division of property, can usually be completed within four to six months.

 

 

If your application includes other claims, the time that it takes to complete the case will depend on how complicated the issues are and whether the parties can agree on all or some of the issues.

 

 

How much does a divorce cost?
In total, court fees are $447 to obtain a divorce in Ontario. The first payment of $167 is due when the application for divorce is filed which includes court fees of $157 and $10 that is collected for the federal Department of Justice. Additional court fees of $280 are paid before the divorce is reviewed by the court.

 

 

Court fees may be paid by cash, cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance. If you are unable to pay the court fees, you may qualify for a fee waiver.

 

 

Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?
While you are able to file an application for divorce on your own, you should consult a lawyer before doing so. A lawyer can help you understand the issues that may be involved in your case and the effects that a divorce may have on your rights and obligations. For example, you may lose your entitlement to a division of property and your benefits under a spouse’s health insurance plan after a divorce has been granted.
Do I have to be separated for a certain amount of time before I can apply for a divorce?

 

 

In most cases, in order for a divorce to be granted, you must have lived separate and apart from your spouse for at least one year. While you can begin the divorce process before this period has passed, it cannot be completed until the year has passed.

 

 

Where another basis for the breakdown of the marriage has been established, such as adultery or mental or physical cruelty, the court can grant the divorce at any time, although additional steps will be necessary. You should speak with a lawyer for more information regarding the process for obtaining a divorce on one of these bases.

 

 

Am I considered separated even though my spouse and I still live together in our home?
You may be considered to be living separate and apart while continuing to live in the same home, although it will depend on the facts in your case. Generally, the courts require clear evidence that spouses are no longer living together in a spousal relationship when they continue to live in the home. If you are not sure about whether you would be considered separated in your circumstances, you should speak with a lawyer.

 

 

Can I get a divorce if there are issues that have not yet been decided (for example custody, access or support)?
You can ask the court for a divorce before the other issues have been decided by either starting an application for divorce or, if one has already been started, bringing a motion to ask for a divorce order.

 

 

However, the court may not grant the divorce before the other issues have been decided. For example, if you have children, a court will not grant a divorce until you have shown that you have made adequate child support arrangements.

 

 

What is a simple divorce application?
A simple divorce is a request for a divorce only, with no other claims (such as custody, access or support). It can be prepared either by one spouse alone or by both spouses as a joint application.

 

 

If an application is prepared by only one spouse, it must be served on the other spouse after it has been issued by the court.

 

 

A joint application for divorce is a request that is made by both spouses for a divorce order, with or without other terms (for example agreed upon child support payments). With a joint application, both spouses must complete the documents that are necessary in order to obtain the divorce.

 

 

I have lived with my partner for three years but we never married. Do we need a divorce?

No, only married spouses need a divorce. People who have lived together may, however, have other issues that need to be decided, including custody and access, support and division of jointly owned property. These rights and obligations are not always the same as they are for married spouses, particularly in relation to rights to property. You should speak to a lawyer about your rights and obligations arising from your relationship.

 

**source: Ministry of Attorney-General

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