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How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Ontario?

A stack of divorce files

A common question for someone who is involved in or considering divorce in Ontario is how long the process will take. Unfortunately, there is no clear cut answer – no two cases are the same and each requires the same dedication and attention in order to guarantee that the legal rights of both parties are protected.

But since “it depends” is not a satisfactory answer, this post will endeavour to explain a great deal about the different circumstances that can affect the amount of time it will take for a divorce to be finalized.

How Long Do You Need to Wait Before You Can File For or Get a Divorce?

You will need to be separated from your spouse for at least one year before you can file for divorce. The only exception to this time limit is if there is evidence of adultery, or mental or physical abuse. To be clear, if the non-filing spouse disputes the adultery or abuse the contested nature of the Application will further delay the granting of the divorce.

How Quickly Will My Case Be Finalized?

Once a party has filed for divorce, the length of time it will take to process depends on how many variables are involved. If there are children, multiple jointly-owned properties and spousal support payments to arrange, the process will naturally take considerably more time. If the only outstanding issue is a divorce – and the parties proceed with what is referred to as an Uncontested Divorce Application – these on average take six months for the Courts to process to completion.

You may wish to use collaborative family law as a way of coming to a peaceful resolution to your marriage. In this approach, you and your legal team work together with your spouse and their legal team to hammer out the details. There are no guarantees that this approach will actually be quicker – it still depends on whether or not you are able to come to a compromise.

Alternatively, mediation through a third-party can be used to resolve issues. Once again, the speed of this process depends on whether or not both parties can find the negotiated terms to be agreeable.

If it isn’t possible to reach an agreement, the case will proceed through the courts and could take months before reaching a conclusion.

Who Can I Turn to for Answers About My Situation?

For expert advice and for unique insight into what might be involved to have your divorce finalized, contact Epstein & Associates for professional legal advice. By taking advantage of a free initial consultation, you can begin to get an idea of what will be involved in terminating your relationship.