Filing Divorce in Ontario

Filing a divorce in Ontario is not difficult if you have the assistance of qualified divorce lawyer. The potentially time consuming process of filing a divorce in Ontario will be handled by our divorce lawyer. We will take on the burden of properly preparing your divorce and going to court to make sure everything is in order with your divorce.

There are thousands of couples who apply for divorce in Ontario . Many use divorce lawyers to ensure that their divorce is handled professionally and with the expert attention that it deserves.  However, those who attempt to represent themselves in court often find that they do not prepare their case properly.  This may lead to mistakes and potentially increased costs.

Types of Proceedings for Filing a Divorce in Ontario

There are generally two ways in which a divorce in Ontario can be filed, either contested or uncontested.  Here at Simple Divorce we assist couples with both types of divorce processes in Ontario.  An uncontested divorce in Ontario refers mainly to a divorce proceeding in which the responding party fails to file an answer to an application for divorce and fails to contest any issues raised in the divorce.  However, a contested divorce in Ontario is just the opposite – the parties are likely disputing some issue regarding the divorce, whether it is spousal support, child support, property issues and etc.

Legal Representation for Filing Divorce in Ontario

It is very important to get legal representation if you are considering filing a divorce in Ontario. A divorce lawyer should respond to potential legal issues that may arise from your divorce to eliminate the possibility of mistakes being made. Furthermore, it is important and highly advised that you consult with a divorce lawyer to fully understand how to apply for divorce in Ontario and your legal rights before you begin the process of getting a divorce in Ontario. Getting a divorce in Ontario triggers various legal rights and issues. Therefore, it is important to know what rights you may be entitled to and what rights you may be giving up before proceeding with a divorce application in Ontario and getting a divorce in Ontario.

Legal Grounds for Divorce in Ontario


Abuse is one of the most common legal grounds for divorce in Ontario. However, to use abuse in this context, evidence is required. You are tasked with proving a spouse has been physically abusive or mentally abusive. This proof must be followed with the context of how it’s made a living together impossible. As you petition the courts for a divorce, the allegations must be set out in specifics. Physical abuse can also be far easier to prove than mental cruelty or mental abuse. For example, there may be a criminal conviction of a crime relating to abuse that can substantiate a claim of abuse. With mental abuse, it’s not necessarily as easy. Unless you have an extreme case, evidence in support of mental abuse allegations is likely to be found insufficient. Throughout this process of gathering evidence and identifying proof, you may also involve witness testimony. When using abuse as a legal ground for divorce, you may expect the spouse to dispute it, which is why this falls under a contested divorce.


Separation is another way to be granted a divorce in Ontario. To use separation as grounds for divorce, provide evidence that you have lived apart for at least one (1) year. If you have not been able to afford to live separately however have been considered separate for one year, you may still file on these grounds. You simply have to prove the marriage-like quality of the relationship has ended and that you are now living a separate life from what you were sharing before with this person. For example, you’re dating other people, have stopped attending events together, and the like. Throughout the one-year period, a lot of couples try to reconcile. Some do. Some reconcile on a temporary basis and then separate again. Please note that if there is a reconciliation and you move back in with your spouse, following a total of 90 days of living together, this one-year separation period will start all over again.


The single most common reason for divorce in Canada is adultery. To use adultery as grounds for divorce in Ontario, you must provide irrefutable evidence that your spouse has had sex with someone else. Furthermore, you need to provide evidence that you can no longer tolerate remaining in your marriage with your spouse as a result of their adultery. If your spouse has not openly admitted to adultery and wants to contest the allegations, it is your responsibility to prove your claim accurately. You may involve witness testimonies to support your claims. Adultery, in some cases, can be difficult to prove when there is a dispute as to whether it occurred or not. Furthermore, if the evidence is weak, using adultery as grounds for divorce not be accepted.

Are You Eligible to Apply for Divorce in Ontario?

Filing for a divorce in Ontario, Canada is quite easy to do. You do not even need to be a Canadian citizen to apply. That said, there is a criteria that must be met in order for you to be eligible. If you want to understand what the divorce process in Ontario is and how getting a divorce works, the criteria is important. There are only 3 eligibility criteria you need to meet.

  • ●        You are legally married. Please note, you don’t have to be married in Ontario or Canada to be considered legally married, and can file for a divorce in Ontario accordingly.
  • ●        There is an intention to separate from your spouse or you have already separated and you believe there is no possibility of you reconciling and getting back together.
  • ●        You and/or your spouse have lived in Ontario for a minimum of at least 12 months prior to you submitting a divorce application. If you or they have not, you must wait until the full 12-month period has gone by before applying.

If you are not legally married, you can still engage with your former partner and negotiate a separation agreement however is not guided by federal and provincial laws on divorce. Arrangements around custody, access, and support are negotiated under provincial laws on separation.

Furthermore, you must provide the courts with a reason your marriage can no longer continue. The aforementioned legal grounds for divorce in Ontario are a necessary component in your application.

  • ●        You have lived apart from your spouse for a minimum of one (1) year and consider your marriage to be finished..
  • ●        Your spouse has committed adultery and it has made it intolerable for you to continue in your marriage.
  • ●        Your spouse is or has been physically or mentally abusive towards you to such a degree that it is no longer feasible to remain in the marriage.

Steps in Getting a Divorce in Ontario

Getting a divorce in Ontario involves various steps which may seem complicated to those unfamiliar with getting a divorce in Ontario. The general steps for a divorce in Ontario are summarized as follows. To start the divorce process in Ontario, either spouse may prepare and file with the court an application for divorce. This application for divorce will basically outline what you are seeking with respect to your divorce in Ontario – for example, spousal support, child support, division of property etc. After you have filed the divorce application in Ontario with the courts, the next step is the service of the divorce application on your spouse. Once served with the divorce application your spouse will have 30 days if within Canada or the USA to respond to the application for divorce by serving you and filing with the court an answer.

For an uncontested divorce in Ontario, no answer is filed and no other claims are brought forth. The next step after serving and waiting 30 days for your spouse to respond to your divorce application in Ontario, the application will have to file an affidavit of divorce along with a draft divorce order approximately 2 months after the initial court filing. This step is referred to as the set down. After the set down has been done, the applicant can expect to wait an additional 2 months after the set down for a judge to look over everything and issue a divorce order.
If, however, the other spouse does indeed serve and file an answer in response to the application for divorce, then the divorce in Ontario will be very different and much more complicated.

Depending on what claims either spouse brings in addition to the divorce, various other documents will have to be filed with the courts including financial statements, affidavits in support of support and custody, and etc. In addition, there will be a mandatory case conference with a judge where the issues of the divorce in Ontario will be identified and the parties will attempt to solve their issues. However, if the parties are unable to resolve their issues at a case conference or mediation, the divorce process in Ontario will go to a trial where the cost and time will go up significantly. That is why if you are thinking of getting a divorce in Ontario it is in your best interest to try your best to negotiate a settlement with your spouse outside a court through a separation agreement.

Alternative to Court for Filing your Divorce in Ontario

In addition to explaining legal rights and representation in court, a divorce lawyer can be instrumental in exploring alternatives to court to settle many issues before you get a divorce in Ontario.  Collaborative Family Law is an example of how a divorce lawyer can be of immense assistance during the process of a divorce in Ontario.  This is a very popular option for couples who are pursuing a divorce in Ontario.  Collaborative Family Law is essentially a way to negotiate and resolve issues outside of court with the help of trained family lawyers.  The essential role of lawyers in Collaborative Family Law is to avoid litigation as a means to resolve the issues of separating or divorcing couples. The divorce lawyers in this form of negotiation will work with both parties to come to a fair, reasonable and just separation agreement with the focus of eliminating the need to go to court.

If parties are able to resolve their issues through negotiations it is highly advised that in addition to their divorce in Ontario, they get a divorce lawyer to draft a separation agreement for them.

Our mission at Simple Divorce is straightforward; we strive to provide a low cost option for a divorce in Ontario that is convenient for our clients.  If you have any questions regarding your divorce, contact us and we’ll be glad to help.