Are Divorce Files Public Records in Ontario?

are divorce files public records in ontario?

When it comes to divorce records, Ontario presumes that all civil and family litigation matters are public. 

The only way to seal a court file and take it out of public eyes requires an Order under section 137(2) of the Courts of Justice Act. This only needs to be submitted by a single party and said party must ask the court to restrict the openness of the court file and court appearances during the proceedings.

In order for the court to grant the restriction of public access, they must determine if restricting the access is necessary to prevent a serious risk to the administration of justice. Typically if there is a necessity for the restriction, they must determine a balance between the rights of the public and the harmful effects on the rights of the parties. 

It is important to note that if a child under the age of 18 is involved, that is not enough cause to request files to be sealed. 

How to find divorce records in Ontario?

The first step to find a divorce file is to know when the divorce took place. For divorces that occurred between 1987 to present, the files are available only through the Superior Court of Justice courthouse where the divorce was filed.

Next, you will need the court file number, the year of the divorce and the name of the county or district where the divorce took place. For any divorce filed from 1968 to present day, you will need to contact the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings and provide a search request. 

If you are looking for another person’s divorce file, for divorces from 1986 and later these are only available through the local courthouse where the divorce was filed.

I got divorced, how do I know if it is finalized in Ontario? 

The best way to check the status of your divorce case is to contact the court that processed the application. 

If you are unsure of which courthouse that was, it’s best to just contact the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings and provide your personal information and reference number to the court official.  

For more information or to speak with one of our lawyers today, feel free to contact us now.

This blog is made available by the law firm publisher, Epstein & Associates, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. Any specific questions about your legal concerns please contact us now and speak to an expert today.