Here are Your Simple Steps after Serving Divorce Papers in Ontario


Your ex-spouse has been served… now what? A lot of our clients come to us unclear about the steps that follow the serving of divorce papers. Some are even sure how to serve. Uncertainty is one of the worst feelings you can have during this tumultuous time in your life. Here’s how the serving of divorce papers should play out.

How Do I Serve Divorce Papers to My Spouse?

The papers are delivered to your spouse or their lawyer in person, or via mail or fax. You can also hire a process server to serve the divorce papers.

There have been cases of the email being used to serve the papers. This is acceptable as long as a judge approves the process. In the U.S., we’ve seen cases where Facebook has been deemed an acceptable way to serve divorce papers. However, that has not been made a viable serving option in Canada.

Once you’ve served your ex with divorce papers, the next step is theirs.

If They Don’t Respond

Your spouse has 30 days from the day the papers are served to respond. They may not respond for any number of reasons. They may not want a divorce or may choose to be difficult and drag things out. But their inactivity is only a temporary hurdle. If they don’t respond within the allotted 30 days, you’re able to move forward by:

  • Submitting your Affidavit for Divorce, Divorce Order and Clerk’s Certificate.
  • Waiting for the court’s decision to grant you a Divorce Order. Wait time will vary from court to court.

If They Actively Avoid Being Served

Sometimes one spouse might go so far as to leave the city, province or country in order to avoid being served divorce papers. If that happens, you can ask a judge to order something called “substituted service.” They will decide exactly how your spouse should be served if he or she has avoided it.

If They Do Respond

If your spouse responds to the divorce papers, you need to speak to your divorce lawyer or family law expert. Your lawyer will advise you on how to proceed and can help speed up the divorces process. They can assist and counsel you in making decisions about your future in such areas as:

  • Possible spousal support
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • The division of assets

Are You Considering a Divorce?

No matter what phase of the divorce process you are in, we can help.

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.

Posted in

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.

Request a Consultation

Related Posts