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What is An Uncontested Divorce?

A married couple working together to understand an uncontested divorce

Originally Published: August 2017

Updated: July 2023

Marriage and divorce can be complex and emotional. When navigating the process, you might be wondering which type of divorce is right for your unique situation. The two types of divorce in Canada are contested divorce and uncontested divorce. So, what is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties agree to end their marriage and settle all matters without looking to contest specific issues. The process requires mutual agreement and cooperation throughout. Meaning, the couple can agree on key components such as the division of their assets and debts, child custody and visitation, child support, and alimony. This type of divorce is favourable because it is often less expensive and less time-consuming than a contested divorce.

Are You Required to Appear in Court?

Since there is an agreement, in these situations, you are generally not required to appear in Court. Instead, you and your spouse will reach an agreement through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative divorce methods. You may represent yourself through this process, however, consulting with an experienced family lawyer will ensure that you understand your rights and are properly represented throughout the negotiations.

Once you reach a settlement agreement, you will submit it to the court for approval. A Divorce Order is an administrative process that allows you to obtain a Marriage License should you wish to remarry in the future. Once the court accepts the agreement, the divorce is legally binding.

Specific requirements for an uncontested divorce can change based on province. It is highly advised to consult a law firm, like Epstein and Associates, to confirm that you qualify and to determine the next steps.

When is A Uncontested Divorce Not An Option?

You and your spouse may agree on the idea of separation and divorce, however, if you will not be able to negotiate the terms of the divorce, such as division of property, you are no longer able to pursue an uncontested divorce. Your divorce would proceed as a contested divorce where you would negotiate the terms of divorce in the courts.
It is advisable to consult an experienced family lawyer to discuss how to proceed with a contested divorce.

How Long Does An Uncontested Divorce Take?

Though an uncontested divorce is often quicker and simpler than a contested divorce, there is still a process that must be followed. You will need to submit forms and documents to the courts. A family lawyer can help you compile and file the correct documents to speed up the process of your divorce. If the process runs smoothly, you can expect the process to take approximately 6-8 months to receive the Divorce Order.

For the divorce to be ordered, you will need to establish one of the following:

  1. That there have been acts of cruelty by a spouse;
  2. That there has been adultery committed by one of the parties; or,
  3. That the parties have lived separate lives from one another for one year.

The majority of divorces in Ontario are pursued based on the third point above because separation is the easiest to prove and the most difficult to contest.

How Much Does An Uncontested Divorce Cost?

Because an uncontested divorce traditionally avoids the time and argument associated with a litigated dispute it is far less expensive. Typically, the process amounts to $1,300.00 all inclusive, all-inclusive, however, each divorce is unique and may have varying costs.
The best course of action is to take advantage of your local family lawyer’s complimentary consultation to understand what you can expect from your particular case.

Consult With A Lawyer

With any legal matter, it is beneficial to consult with a family lawyer. While an uncontested divorce involves less conflict and legal complexity, a lawyer’s guidance can help ensure your rights and interests are protected. A lawyer can help you with the preparation and review of legal documents, advise you on laws and regulations, and help prepare you for next steps.


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.