Divorce in Ontario
This page describes some of the basic procedures for obtaining a simple divorce in the province of Ontario, Canada on the grounds of 12 months separation. If either you or your spouse have lived in Ontario for at least the past 12 months, and live there now, either of you may file for divorce in Ontario, or you may file jointly.
None of this information is intended as legal advice. If you are unsure of your legal rights and responsibilities, you should consult a lawyer.
Preparing your documents
The first thing you need to do is to assemble your documents. You will need the following documents:
an Application for Divorce
an Affidavit for Divorce (one for each spouse if you are filing jointly)
a Certificate of Clerk
a draft Divorce Order, and
a Certificate of Divorce
You may need other documents as well depending on your individual circumstances. Some of these are mentioned below.
Your divorce documents must be prepared by you or someone on your behalf. The court staff will not prepare these documents for you or help you to prepare your own. Traditionally lawyers have prepared divorce documents but with rising legal fees many people today are seeking a cost effective alternative. Our service was designed to save people the time and aggravation of trying to prepare their own divorce documents while also saving them hundreds of dollars in legal fees.
In addition to the documents you prepare before attending the court office, there will also be another form for you to fill out there which the court staff will give to you. This is to allow the court to obtain a clearance certificate stating that neither you nor your spouse has applied for Divorce anywhere else in the country.
You will also need to file your original marriage certificate or marriage registration. If you don't have the original you will need to file a certified copy obtained from the province in which it was issued. If you were married in Ontario you can get information on how to order a certified copy on the Web site of the Ministry of Government Services. If you were married outside Ontario and need to obtain a copy of your certificate or registration, contact the department of vital statistics in the jurisdiction in which you were married.
Child support and financial documents
If dependent children are involved your documents will contain enough information to satisfy the court that proper arrangements are in place for their care including custody, access, and financial requirements. If you and your spouse have agreed that the amount of child support should be whatever the Federal Child Support Guideline Table says, the amount will be accepted by the court. If you have agreed on some other amount you will need to explain why your amount is better for the children. The courts may still impose the Table amount. You can quickly and easily look up the Table amount here if you know the gross annual income of the spouse who will be paying child support.
In addition, a financial statement will be required from the parent who will be paying child support. If there is shared or split custody arrangement, both spouses will need to file financial documents. Even if you have agreed with your spouse on the amount of child support to be paid, the courts need this information in order to ensure the children's welfare is being properly considered. Our service provides a financial statement which can be completed on your computer or printed and filled out neatly by hand. Your income tax returns and notices of assessment for the past 3 years must be attached to these forms.
Going to the court office
You, or someone else on your behalf, will need to go to the court office to file the various documents in person. Our service will provide you with full details of just what documents to file and when depending on your own particular circumstances.
There is a mandatory filing fee payable to the court when you file your first documents. The amount is $447, that is $167 paid on your first trip to the court office and $280 when you file the second set of documents. This can be paid by cheque to the Minister of Finance, or by cash or credit card. Ontario has the steepest filing fees in Canada and you have to pay it regardless of whether you hire a lawyer or use our service. You can determine which court office services your community by viewing this list of Superior Court of Justice locations.
Serving documents on your spouse
Unless you and your spouse are filing for divorce jointly, you will need to serve the documents on your spouse. In Ontario you have the very convenient option of serving your spouse by mail so long as your spouse will cooperate enough to send back an acknowledgment of service. Otherwise you will need to have your spouse served personally by someone other than yourself who will attest to having done so by signing an Affidavit of Service.
Affidavits are sworn documents so you must sign it before a person who is authorized to take oaths. If it is convenient for you, you can sign your affidavit at the court office when you file the documents. If this is not convenient, just drop into a lawyer's office and someone (usually a secretary) will be authorized to witness a sworn document. There is often a small charge (~$20) for this service.
If you have not yet been separated for more than one year when you file your documents, you must wait to sign and file the Affidavits once the year has passed.
If you have not yet done so, take a moment now to discover how using our divorce document assembly service can save you both time and money. Follow this link for more information about divorce in Canada generally, or about specific other provinces.