Close this search box.


Understanding the basics of divorce in Ontario

When a married couple decides to get a divorce in Ontario, there is some basic information that they should know. Part of this is whether they need to live separately for a specific period of time before filing for divorce.
Most of the time, a couple must live apart from each other for at least one year before they are awarded a divorce in Ontario. Although the application process for divorce can begin before the one year is up, the process cannot be finalized prior to the one-year separation requirement. There are instances in which a court may grant a divorce even if the spouses are living in the same home. For such a case, the court requires clear evidence that the couple is no longer continuing their marital relationship while living together. The court could award a divorce before the one-year separation requirement if there is mental or physical cruelty or adultery.
When it comes time for the spouses to file for divorce, they must fill out an application and file it with the Superior Court of Justice or with the Family Court branch. If a couple has no children and one spouse does not depend on the other for financial support, a divorce could be finalized in four to six months. This process may be minimized if the couple was not married for very long and did not acquire marital assets.
It could take longer for the divorce to go through if these and other matters need to be considered. The amount of time that it takes depends on the complexity of matters and whether the spouses agree on some or all arrangements. The application process may be overwhelming for some couples, especially if they acquired assets and had children during their marriage. These couples could each seek guidance from their own lawyers on how to fill out and submit a divorce application.
Source: Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, “Frequently Asked Questions-Divorce“, September 30, 2014