The General Steps in Obtaining a Divorce in Ontario

Obtaining a simple uncontested divorce or joint divorce in Ontario involves various steps which will be discussed in this article.

The first step usually involves a consultation with a family or divorce lawyer who should advise you of your legal rights and obligations relating to your divorce.  If you wish to retain a divorce lawyer the next step will be to issue an application for divorce.

The application for divorce is simply a document that informs the court that you are seeking a divorce.  The application in duplicate, registration of divorce proceedings form, marriage certificate and the prescribed court fee will be submitted to your local court.  Once you file these documents with the court clerk, he or she will issue you a copy of your application.

Upon issuing the application you must then serve your spouse with a copy of the divorce application.  This step will obviously not be necessary if you are filing a joint divorce, in which case service is not required.  If you are not filing a joint divorce you must serve the divorce application on your spouse.  Service is essentially giving the copy of the application to your spouse, which must be done by a third person in person or by mailing a copy of the application to your spouse along with an acknowledgement of service card.  Your spouse will then have 30 days to file his or her answer (60 days if filed outside of Canada or the USA)  – if the answer is not filed within the stipulated time period, your divorce will likely proceed as an uncontested divorce.

After you have served your spouse, you will have to have an affidavit of divorce prepared.  An affidavit is essentially a statement that you will take under oath stating that all the information in your application is true.

After you have completed all of the above, you will have to go back to court and file a continuing record.  The continuing record will contain all of the documents stated above, including the application for divorce, affidavit of service and affidavit for divorce.  In addition, the court will require multiple copies of a draft divorce order, and two stamped envelopes (one addressed to the applicant and the other to the respondent).

During the above process, the court will also be waiting for a clearance certificate from Ottawa, which usually takes between six to eight weeks, informing the court that it has the authorization to issue a divorce.

Upon receiving the clearance certificate from Ottawa, a divorce judge will be able to sign a divorce order.  When the judge signs the divorce order, the actual divorce will take effect 31 days after the judge signs the divorce order.

For more information on obtaining a divorce in Ontario, please contact our Toronto divorce lawyer.

Helpful Resources:

Divorce and Separation
Family Justice Services
Child Custody and Access
Spousal Support
Child Support
Division or Equalization of Family Property
Treatment of a Matrimonial Home
Enforcement of Support Payments
Child Protection
Child Adoption