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How to Get a Divorce in Ontario

Couple in Divorce Procedures

Separation agreements and court orders provide the opportunity to resolve family matters, but they do not legally end your marriage. The only way to do that is by getting a divorce. In Ontario, there are certain measures you must meet before you can file for divorce. 

Here at Epstein & Associates, we have outlined the necessary steps and paperwork required to commence the divorce process. Should you have any questions, you can refer to our previous blog post for a complete guide to divorce and what is included outside of filing. 

Divorce Procedures – How to Get a Divorce In Ontario 

There are five requirements you will need to complete as part of the divorce process in Ontario: 

  1. Meet the residency requirements and understand the grounds for divorce in Ontario. 
  2. Fill out a divorce application.  
  3. You will need to file your divorce application at the municipality courthouse. 
  4. There will be file fees that you will be required to pay outside of your legal fees. 
  5. Serve the paperwork to the party you are filing against. 

Once these steps are completed your divorce proceedings can begin and negotiations may commence.

Grounds For Getting Divorced

In Ontario, there are two grounds in which you can legally prove a marriage breakdown and file for divorce; “No Fault” and “For Fault”. A divorce will be granted only if you can prove to the courts that your marriage has either had issues beyond repair or by providing proof that violence or abuse has occurred. 

No Fault Divorce

A No Fault divorce and one year of separation usually go hand-in-hand but completing the full one-year requirement is not a prerequisite for filing. 

Although couples will usually take the full year to consider whether divorce is the right option for them, you do not have to wait the entire year. You can immediately file for divorce and start the process with your lawyer. However, the court will not issue or grant you a divorce until the one-year separation timeline has been fulfilled. 

A No Fault divorce and separating from your spouse does not mean you need to live in two separate locations, it just requires that you live separate lives. If you do continue to live in the same house because of financial issues or children, it is best to consult a lawyer to ensure that the legal requirements of the yearlong separation are being met. The last thing you want, is to go through an entire year of separation thinking you were fulfilling the requirements correctly only to find out that the court has declined your divorce application because there was not enough proof of separation. 

For Fault Divorce

A For Fault divorce is a lot more clear-cut than a No Fault divorce. If a couple files for divorce on the grounds of For Fault, it means that one spouse has either committed adultery or acted cruelly towards the other. 

The stipulation with a For Fault divorce is that you need proof of what happened in order to substantiate the claim. A For Fault divorce case usually requires legal representation as it is lengthy, there are large amounts of paperwork and will often include court proceedings. 

Lastly, a For Fault divorce case has no impact on the court’s decision when it comes to child custody, access and the general support of the child. 

Here at Epstein & Associates, we work with divorce and family law cases every day. With this consistency, we have the knowledge and expertise to help ensure the outcome you want. Please feel free to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation and speak with one of our lawyers to see how we can assist you today.