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Online Divorce Filing

Ontario now offers the convenience of filing divorce applications online. This change in the process of filing for divorce has been received positively by lawyers, court staff and the general public. Previously, it was a cumbersome process to physically visit the courthouse to file the necessary documents, and parties had to hire process servers to attend court on their behalf. With the availability of online filing, parties can save both time and money.

The online application for divorce is available for both simple and joint divorce applications. However, the entire filing procedure for an online divorce is only available for joint divorce applications, where both spouses apply for the divorce together and request their divorce order online after filing the required documents. In a simple divorce, only one spouse applies for the divorce, and the remaining procedure of service and obtaining the divorce order cannot be done online.

There are several conditions for applying for a divorce online.

  • One of the spouses must have lived in Ontario for at least 12 months prior to the filing of the divorce application. 
  • The spouses must have been separated for at least 12 months. 
  • They cannot be applying for a fee waiver of their court fees. 
  • If the parties are filing a joint application, their marriage must have been in Canada, or they were issued an electronic marriage certificate from a foreign jurisdiction.

The cost to file a joint application is $632, while the cost to file a simple divorce application is $212. The court forms used to apply for a divorce online remain the same as before, with both simple and joint divorce applications requiring a Form 8A.

Once all the required documents have been processed, it typically takes three to four months from filing to have the divorce issued. After the divorce is granted, the court sends an email of the divorce order to the parties. If a divorce certificate is required, the parties must wait for 31 days after the divorce is granted before being able to apply for it.

It is important to note that if a party is seeking child support, spousal support, or an equalization payment and their spouse does not consent to it in a joint divorce, they will not be able to use the online filing system. In such cases, their family matter would be classified as ‘complex,’ and they would need to go through the traditional process of litigation. It is recommended to seek legal advice from a lawyer before doing so.

Requirements for Uncontested Divorce

If you want to use our Ontario uncontested divorce service, you and your spouse must meet certain requirements. Below are the mandatory requirements and information about the process:

  • The uncontested divorce service is only for clients seeking a divorce and not for those who require legal advice on property division, custody, or child/spousal support. If you need legal advice, you can contact us for a consultation with one of our divorce lawyers.
  • Ensure your spouse will not contest the divorce or make any claims against you. If there are any unresolved issues between you and your spouse, such as custody, support, or property division, contact us for a consultation about your potential rights and options.
  • According to Ontario law, your spouse must be served with the divorce documents, except in the case of joint divorces. Our firm will arrange service for your spouse, but their cooperation is important to ensure a smooth process. If your spouse’s whereabouts are unknown, we can still assist in obtaining the divorce.
  • You or your spouse must have lived in Ontario for at least 12 months before the uncontested divorce process begins, and at least one of you must continue to live in Ontario throughout the process. You don’t need to be a Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident to obtain an uncontested divorce in Ontario.
  • Child support must be paid or agreed to be paid according to the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Although there is no requirement for a formal agreement or court order, you will be required to sign an affidavit detailing the child support arrangement.
  • There are two fees associated with an uncontested divorce: our legal fee of $850 plus HST, and the government filing fee of $632.
  • It usually takes four months to be granted an uncontested divorce in Ontario. If you plan to remarry, you must wait 31 days after the divorce is granted.

An uncontested divorce in Ontario is a quick and easy option that involves lower costs and less stress as both parties do not have to appear before the court. Since there are no disputes between the parties, the chances of the divorce being contested in the future are reduced. Additionally, details of the marriage are not widely published, thus maintaining privacy. An uncontested divorce is often preferred when children are involved and allows both parties to move forward amicably.

While uncontested divorce may seem attractive, it has some drawbacks. For instance, it may not be suitable in cases of abuse as it does not record the abuse, which may provide the abuser with an unfair advantage. Additionally, using uncontested divorce as a means of avoiding disagreements may only delay important issues that need to be addressed in the future. If one party lacks a thorough understanding of the law or struggles to complete the divorce paperwork, an uncontested divorce in Ontario may not be the best option.

Contested Divorce

In Ontario, when a couple is unable to reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce, a contested divorce may be the only option available. Unlike an uncontested divorce, where the parties have already agreed on all the important issues related to their separation, a contested divorce requires the intervention of the court to decide on the unresolved matters.

Contested divorces are often more complicated, time-consuming, and costly than uncontested divorces. The process typically involves multiple court appearances, mediation sessions, and negotiations between the parties and their lawyers. The parties may need to provide evidence and testimony to support their positions on issues such as property division, child custody, support, and access.

In Ontario, the court uses the “best interests of the child” principle when making decisions on matters of child custody and support. The court will consider various factors, such as the child’s age, needs, and preferences, the parents’ ability to care for the child, and any history of domestic violence or abuse.

Property division in contested divorces is governed by the Family Law Act. Under this law, each spouse is entitled to an equal share of the value of any property acquired during the marriage, with some exceptions. Property that was owned by one spouse before the marriage or received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage may not be subject to division.

The duration of a contested divorce can vary depending on the complexity of the issues involved, the level of conflict between the parties, and the court’s workload. It is not uncommon for a contested divorce to take several months or even years to resolve.

One of the biggest drawbacks of a contested divorce is the emotional toll it can take on the parties and their children. The stress and anxiety of going through a protracted legal battle can be overwhelming, especially if the parties are unable to maintain a civil relationship. In some cases, the children may be caught in the middle of the dispute, which can lead to emotional trauma and long-term negative effects. Another significant disadvantage of a contested divorce is the high cost. Since contested divorces require a lot of court time, lawyer fees, and other expenses, the total cost can quickly add up. In many cases, the cost of a contested divorce can exceed the value of the property being divided. A contested divorce is a complex legal process that should only be pursued as a last resort. If possible, couples should try to resolve their issues through negotiation, mediation, or other alternative dispute resolution methods.

Overall, the divorce process in Ontario can be complex and emotional, especially in cases where the divorce is contested. Divorce and separation are complex legal and emotional processes that can have significant consequences for all parties involved. It is essential to work with an experienced family lawyer to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

Custody and Access

Custody and access in family law refer to the rights and responsibilities of parents or guardians towards their children. In Canada, the Divorce Act governs custody and access in cases where the parents are separating or getting a divorce. The act applies to married parents, while each province has its own legislation for unmarried parents. Custody and access arrangements are often a significant part of divorce proceedings and require careful consideration to ensure the well-being of the children.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Divorce Lawyer?

The cost of hiring a divorce lawyer depends on many factors, including the length and complexity of the case. Divorce lawyers typically charge a fixed fee for their services, ranging from $2,500 to as much as $15,000 or more, depending on the scope of work required.

Before committing to any contract, it is essential to understand all fees associated with an attorney’s service. Suppose you believe that your case may be lengthy or complex.

Finding and hiring an experienced divorce lawyer who can provide professional advice throughout the process is often recommended.

What Causes Divorce to be Legally Invalid?

In some cases, a divorce might be legally invalid. Some of the most common reasons a divorce might be denied are if the spouse seeking the divorce lacks mental capacity at the time of filing or if there were procedural errors in achieving service upon the other party.

In addition, certain jurisdictions require that both parties agree to specific terms before the court can grant a divorce; otherwise, it could be overturned on appeal. Divorce laws vary significantly from state to state and even country to country, so consulting with an experienced attorney is essential.

When you doubt your case and its potential outcome, seeking legal advice regarding all aspects of your process is highly recommended.

What Possible Questions Should I Ask a Divorce Lawyer?

Here are some possibilities you can ask a divorce lawyer to help you make a decision:

  • What is your experience with divorce litigation?

  • What steps will you take to protect my rights?

  • Are there alternatives to divorce litigation that could be better in my case?

  • How long have you been practising Divorce law?

  • Can you explain the process of Divorce Litigation in detail?

  • Are you an expert in divorce proceedings?

  • How many years have you been providing family law services?

  • What legal fees should I anticipate for utilizing your services?

  • How do you typically handle divorce proceedings?

  • Are you usually able to resolve divorce cases without going to court?