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When Divorce is the Only Option: Divorce forms and legal processes in Ontario

When couple’s therapy sessions or trial separation fails to rekindle a marriage, divorce may be the appropriate solution to marital conflict. If this is the outcome, it is likely that both partners will spend a great deal of time and energy processing not only emotions but also divorce forms and applications to initiate the process.

In Ontario, there is a no-fault divorce system under the Divorce Act of Canada which does not provide for any differing means to the process, unless a party has acted egregiously with respect to property. A marriage breakdown is established three ways: a couple has been living separately for one full year (most common), one or both spouses have committed adultery, or treated the other with mental or physical cruelty.

A divorce application will start the court process. What is written in this application will outline the issues the applicant wants to be determined. If decisions cannot be made pertaining to custody, access (if there are children), support and property division the court will make determinations on these issues. It is highly recommended that legal advice is sought from a reputable divorce lawyer before either party fills out divorce forms.

Types of Divorces in Ontario

In Ontario, there are three different types of divorce processes that are applicable to spouses wishing to end a marriage. A simple or uncontested divorce in Ontario is an option for spouses who are not seeking to settle any other issues other than the divorce itself. The procedure is straightforward; all previous agreements are made by the spouses in regards to child or spousal support, financial issues and property division. These arrangements might be made by a court order or through separation agreement.

An application for divorce only has no claims for child support, custody, or divisions of assets for example and will be processed more quickly than an application that has these claims.  These claims are generally filed over the counter at the court and do not require an attendance at court by the parties. Similarly, completing joint uncontested divorce forms is an option for spouses who both sign divorce papers. This stipulates that neither spouse is suing the other and both partners desire the divorce.

This option can be pursued with or without defined terms of agreement. Joint uncontested divorce is usually convenient for spouses who live close enough to each other that signing divorce papers together is possible. A joint uncontested divorce is similar to an uncontested divorce, the biggest difference being that both spouses are obligated to complete the required documents. A contested divorce usually occurs when spouses disagree on issues raised in the divorce application, such as but not limited to, custody rights, support and property division. 

According to the Vanier Institute of the Family, 67% of families in Canada are composed of married couples and 32% of families are married with children which mean the majority of divorces tend to deal with custody and access matters. How quickly this divorce process takes is predicated on how complicated the issues are.  This can take months, or even years.

At Epstein & Associates we grasp the importance of having knowledgeable legal support during this time of transition. We apply guidance and understanding to each specific situation and are committed to offering unparalleled divorce advice. Choosing the right divorce process can be daunting. 

Come and meet with a professional divorce lawyer at Epstein and Associates for a comprehensive discussion to determine the best plan of action for you and your family at a free initial consultation.