How to File For Divorce in Ontario

how to file for divorce in Canada

You’ve tried reason. You’ve tried reconciliation. But your marriage is beyond saving for one reason, or a number of reasons, and you’re wondering how to file for divorce.

Once you’ve made up your mind and made your decision, you want the rest to move as quickly as possible.

So let’s take a look at exactly how you should proceed,

Confirm You Have Legal Grounds

This is fairly simple in Canada. You have legal grounds for divorce, if:

  • You and your spouse have lived separate and apart for one year (separation grounds)
  • Your spouse has committed adultery; or
  • Your spouse has been cruel or abusive to you (physically or mentally) or your children

From there, you will determine what type of divorce this will be:

Uncontested Divorce: Exactly what it sounds like. Things are amicable and you can easily agree on terms and conditions

Contested Divorce: You’re going to have difficulty deciding on things like child support and child custody.

Consult with a Divorce Lawyer

Even if you’re facing an uncontested divorce, we still recommend working with a divorce or family lawyer to make sure everything is documented and filed correctly. You do not want to find out your child custody agreement wasn’t actually legally binding, just in case someone changes their mind down the line.

If you’re facing a contested divorce, you will 100% need a divorce lawyer. Many people have tried to go through the process without one and suffered. They’ve dragged the process out far longer than it needs to be, while actually costing themselves several thousands of dollars more, when you factor everything in.

There is going to be far too much stress during this process to go in alone.

Create a Separation Agreement

This is the hard part, and the phase where will you need to lean on your legal support the most.

The laws and complexities surrounding coming to a legally binding and fair agreement can be emotionally charged and complicated.

You will map out and commit to terms for:

  • Child support
  • Child custody and visitation
  • Spousal support
  • Property and asset division

If things break down here, you may need to move onto the next phase.

Escalate to Mediation, Arbitration, or Family Court

If you’re not able to work with each other and each other’s legal representation, you may have to go another route:

  • Mediation or Arbitration: Work with a neutral 3rd party to come to a consensus. This is far less contentious and costly than family court.
  • Family Court: Both sides make their case to a judge, who has the final say. This can be very expensive and drag on for months.

How to Download and File Divorce Papers in Canada

Finding forms for divorce is very easy with family centers, court offices and many other facilities offering them. You can find them online, as well. By simply typing “divorce papers Ontario”, you can download papers specific to your region. While finding documents might be fast and convenient, filling in the forms might prove to be a little more challenging.

Types of Divorce Forms

Downloading forms from the internet is definitely the quickest way to begin filing for divorce. Documents are usually available in pdf. format, which makes them easy to save on your computer and print. Divorce forms contain different sections that you need to fill out, like:

• Simple or Joint application
• The applicant and respondent’s details
• Details of lawyers
• Family history
• Claims

How To Fill Out Divorce Papers

If you prefer to fill out the forms yourself, you need to take time out to do a little legal research first. There are some sections you can easily fill out but others require careful consideration to avoid complications.

Keep in mind that each region has specific instructions on how to fill out divorce documents. It is surprising how many forms get delayed because they have not been filled in properly. To avoid errors and to make sure everything is done correctly, it is advisable that you contact a family lawyer for assistance.

What Different Sections Mean: An Overview

Some document sections are simple, like filling out your spouse and children’s basic information. However, there are others that are more complicated than they appear.

Simple or Joint Custody
A simple application refers to when one spouse requests divorce from another. A joint application, on the other hand, is when both parties apply because they agree. Even if you and your spouse have a verbal agreement about filing for a divorce, it is possible for your request to be contested. Speak to your partner and lawyer about the best option.

Family History
This section requires information about your children. Providing details for biological children is usually easy. However, if you have adopted children, it is wise to consult your attorney. You also have to disclose any agreements you might have made as a couple prior to getting married.

With every divorce comes the division of property and child custody. You can claim for your net family properties to be equalized, ask for child support, custody, spousal support, or freezing of assets.

In addition, you can:

• Apply for the marriage to be annulled
• Request a restraining order
• Ask for the court to acknowledge you as a guardian

Each claim includes its own conditions under certain laws and criteria for your claims to be valid. Discussing these concepts with a family lawyer is highly recommended.

Benefits of Having a Family Lawyer

Taking the process into your own hands might sound like a good idea but legal proceedings can be tricky in the long run. Filling out a divorce application is only the first step to a long process.

Hiring a Newmarket divorce lawyer as early as possible gives you advice on what to do next after the application is approved.

Lawyers can:

• Show you how to file divorce papers to avoid costly delays
• Explain concepts that will become very important to understand during divorce proceedings
• Prepare you for hearings and negotiations
• Help you avoid conflict that might be detrimental to your case

We Can Show You How to File for Divorce

Our firm has the experience and expertise to guide you through every single phase of the divorce process.

Galbraith Family Law lawyers are trained in Collaborative Practice, and we have been named the top firm by the Barrie Examiner multiple times. Our legal insights have also been featured in the Globe and Mail, as well as Lawyers Weekly.

Click here to contact us, or to schedule a consultation. Or you can call the local office listed at the top of the page.


How to File For Divorce 

Types of Grounds for Divorce

Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. Brian is known in the legal community for his commitment to efficiently practicing family law using technology and streamlining the divorce processes.

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