How to start divorce proceedings in Ontario

Divorce proceedings in Ontario can be daunting and emotionally traumatic for individuals seeking to file. In this process, there will be many hard or complicated decisions that must take place to ensure the successful filing of the divorce. Consulting with a lawyer can help you ease that burden, better understand your options, and help interpret the divorce process in Ontario. Finding a lawyer that you trust and best meets your specific needs is an important part of the divorce process to ensure that you are being properly advocated for and your interests represented. Eligibility for divorce is the first step in the divorce process and a lawyer can help you understand whether you and your partner are eligible for divorce in Ontario, what type of divorce you will need and how to file for divorce in Ontario.

Where to begin?

Sometimes the hardest part is knowing where to start and with a process as daunting as a divorce understanding what lies ahead is important. The first step is determining whether you are eligible for a divorce. These are the three questions to ask yourself.

  • Are you legally married under Canadian Law? Common Law partners are not eligible for divorce in Canada
  • Has your marriage broken down?
  • Have you lived in Ontario for a full year immediately before beginning the divorce process? To file for divorce in Ontario, there is a requirement for residency in the province.

After establishing your eligibility, the next step is determining the grounds for divorce. In Ontario, you must meet one of the three grounds for divorce to be processed. The grounds for divorce are as follows:

  • You have been living separate and apart for one year or more immediately preceding the determination of divorce.
  • Your spouse has been physically or mentally cruel to you.
  • Your spouse has committed adultery.

Living separate and apart, the first is the most common ground for divorce and does not require that you prove your spouse is responsible for the marriage breakdown.

What type of divorce?

In Ontario, there are two types of divorce that married partners can seek. The first and least complicated is an uncontested divorce. This means that both partners are agreeing to the divorce and filing will be more straightforward.

The second and more complicated type is a contested divorce. This may result from a dispute between partners on matters such as assets, custody, or child support however it varies for each divorce. The type of divorce you and your spouse will be seeking will determine the documents and proof that are required to be filed in the divorce process. Once you have determined your eligibility, the grounds for divorce and the type of divorce the next step is gathering your documents to be filed. While each divorce will require different proof there are certain documents that everyone requires.

What documents do I need for a divorce?

The divorce process, whether contested or uncontested requires the compilation of many forms during the filing process. Your lawyer will help you understand these documents, and how to fill them out and file them. However, there are certain documents and information that you will be required to provide to a lawyer.

  • Original marriage certificate. If you need a replacement marriage certificate and were married in Ontario, you can apply for one here.
  • Proof of any previous marriage and divorce or death of a spouse.
  • The dates you lived together and the location.
  • Information about your children and any prior agreements for custody.
  • Information about property and assets.

After gathering this information, your lawyer will help you fill out the required documents and file them appropriately getting you started on your divorce proceedings in Ontario.

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.