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Divorce in Ontario, Canada
Divorce often comes with a lot of stress, but it’s a good things the divorce laws in Ontario are pretty straightforward. Especially if you are filing for an uncontested divorce, you can complete the entire process in less time and with less costs compared to a traditional divorce. Without the usual conflicts about child custody, child support, property division and other similar concerns, all you need to do is complete the required forms and submit them to the appropriate court. With our form preparation service, you can avoid further delays, knowing that you have completed the right forms the right way.
There will be times when conflicts on the terms of the divorce will arise. This is normal. A professional divorce mediation service can help you sort through these issues and come up with a set of terms favorable for both parties. In case of extremely complicated cases however, it is best to get help from a divorce attorney.
We have put together some information to give you a better idea of how the Ontario divorce process works.
Ontario Divorce Facts
In 2008, Statistics Canada showed that there were 23 divorces in every 10,000 residents within the Province of Ontario. In a list that ranks the divorce rate among all Canadian provinces and territories, Ontario falls in the middle.
Ontario honors both fault and no-fault divorce. For fault-based divorces, extreme cruelty and adultery are counted are valid grounds. No-fault divorces are the more popular choice as there is no need to place blame. Having lived separately for at least a year would automatically qualify a couple for divorce. This includes the amount of time spent living in the same house, but without being together. A minimum residency requirement of one year is also followed.
Ontario Divorce Papers and Forms
The set of forms required to file a divorce would depend on your circumstances. Different forms will be needed if you are filing jointly or separately, as well as if there are other factors to consider like child custody or property division.
The website of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General offers a lot of resources that will show you how the entire process works. All the information can be overwhelming for someone who is stepping on unfamiliar grounds, and it is possible to encounter some confusion especially on figuring out which forms you need to file. Through our form preparation service, you can make sure the right forms are submitted, effectively avoiding any delays.
How to File Divorce Papers in Ontario
You can file your divorce papers personally at a local Ontario courthouse near you once they are completed. There are filing fees to pay, so call ahead to find out how much you need to pay and if there is anything else you would have to bring. After the papers have been filed, the clerk of court will give you instructions on what to do and what to expect.
How to Serve Divorce Papers in Ontario
All parties involved must be notified of the situation to give them the chance to respond or to contest any of the terms. This is what serving divorce papers is for. Serving divorce papers simply means giving your spouse a copy of the papers filed. If the divorce was filed jointly, this step could be skipped.
The Ontario courts do not allow you to serve the divorce papers yourself. You have to find someone else over the age of 18 to do this for you. If you do not want any of your family members or friends to get involved, you can hire a private process server to do it for you for a fee. Whoever delivers the papers will have to complete an “Affidavit of Service”, which will be submitted to the courts as well.
Divorce Residency Essentials to Get Divorce in Ontario
Every province has residency requirements, and Ontario is no different. If you do not meet the requirements, either your case will be dismissed or it will go unaccepted entirely. For Ontario, the requirements are:
When one of the spouses is a nonresident of the state, the spouse filing for divorce must have been a resident of the province for at least six months before filing for divorce.
The divorce may be filed for in any of the following:
Reasons for Divorce in Ontario
There are two primary categories of divorce filing in Ontario. They are fault and no-fault. In order to file for divorce in Ontario, the proper grounds must be established. Both spouses are involved in establishing these grounds, and both must substantiate and agree upon these, unless the divorcing spouse is trying to prove otherwise to the court.
No-fault reasons for divorce in Ontario include:
General reasons include, but are not limited to:
Custody of the Children in Ontario
A court in Ontario grants the custody of the children upon divorce.
The child custody can be granted to either parent on the following grounds:
Ontario officially favors joint custody (but not equal physical custody) if in the best interests of the child and the parents agree. The wishes of the child are also a factor to be considered. There is a legal presumption against giving custody to any person who has inflicted any violence against either a spouse or a child. In abuse cases, the judge is required to consider any history of domestic abuse and may not consider the fact that a parent or spouse has relocated to avoid abuse.
Factors taken into consideration for Ontario include:
Joint custody may be awarded. However, if the wife abandons the husband and the children are over seven years old, the husband is granted custody if he is suitable. Grandparents may be given visitation rights.
Ontario Spousal Support Guidelines
The judge has full discretion when it comes to issuing an allowance for maintenance to either spouse if the spouse does not have the means to do so for themselves.
This award may be made out of the property belonging to the other spouse, unless it is separate property (acquired by gift or inheritance, or acquired prior to the marriage) and was never used for the common benefit of the marriage.
In applying the statewide uniform guideline, the courts will consider the following:
Ontario Child Support Guidelines
A written agreement between the parents for a different amount with a reasonable explanation for the deviation from the guidelines will also be allowed. A standardized Child Support Guidelines form and Child Support Income Statement/Affidavit must be filed in every case in which child support is requested. There is also a procedure for expedited processing in child support cases. Ontario driver’s licenses may be suspended for failure to pay child support.
Ontario is an “equitable distribution” province and the judge has full discretion to divide any jointly-owned real estate or personal property, but does not have the authority to award the wife’s separate property to the husband (regardless of whether the wife’s separate property was obtained before or after the marriage). Gifts and inheritances are considered separate property and are not subject to division unless they have been used for the common benefit of both spouses. The property division need not necessarily be exactly equal, but it must be equitable. Marital fault may be considered in the division of property.
There is no legal provision in Ontario for mediation.
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FREE Alimony Calculator: If spousal support is required, our site will allow you to make the right choices.
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