ezDIVORCE WORK? HOW LONG WILL THIS TAKE?
NOTE: You may have heard
something in the news about a new requirement that couples
attend a mandatory information program session before filing for
divorce in Ontario. The news is inaccurate and misleading on several
points, including that the requirement does
apply to 'simple' divorces. It only applies if you are
asking for something in addition to the divorce
(spousal support, child custody/access support, division of
property, etc.). It also does not apply to joint
You place your order
through the web site and then complete an online divorce intake
You indicate whether you want to file a simple
'sole/uncontested' divorce or a
Sole/Uncontested Divorce - A
simple 'sole/uncontested' divorce in Ontario is one where you are
your spouse for divorce and in which the only request is for a divorce
- as opposed to a 'regular' divorce in which you are seeking court ordered division of property, spousal support and/or
child custody, access and support, etc. After your Application for
Divorce is filed with the court, a copy must be
served on (given to) your spouse. Your spouse then has 30 days (60 days
if served outside of Canada or the USA) to contest the
divorce or make his or her own claim. If he/she
does not contest (by filing and serving you with the
required court forms) within the prescribed time, the
divorce then becomes 'uncontested'.
- In a joint divorce in Ontario, both spouses sign all of the
required divorce papers.
Neither spouse is suing the other for divorce - you are
telling the court that you both want the divorce.
Sole or Joint? - In the end (the granting of the
divorce), there isn't really a significant difference between the two: the cost and the timing*
are generally the same.
In some cases, both spouses
are willing to sign the joint divorce papers; however it may
be inconvenient because, for example, one of the spouses
lives overseas. This does not, however, make a joint divorce
in Ontario impossible. It just takes a bit more
coordination. Many couples want to do a joint divorce
regardless of any logistical issues. Others choose to go the
'sole/uncontested' divorce route simply because it is more
convenient for one of the spouses to take care of all of the
required paperwork. *Note: As of February 2014, the
court in Toronto is getting joint divorces (where the
parties have been separated for at least a year) granted in
as little as four weeks.
The following information is
for a 'sole' divorce. If you are doing a joint divorce,
If you paid for the
service through this website, you will be e-mailed the completed initial
forms within a few hours to a day or two, with instructions
for you to print, sign and mail back to us
along with the first court filing fee ($167). If you choose
to pay in person, we make arrangements to meet in our
Application for Divorce at the court for you.
Next, in a 'sole' divorce
in Ontario, your spouse
must be served with (given) a copy of the filed Application
(this procedure is the same whether your spouse resides in
Ontario or anywhere else in the world):
By mail: Serving your
spouse by regular mail is included at no extra charge. For this method to be effective,
your spouse must sign and mail back an included Acknowledgment of
Service form. Note: Signing for registered mail or a
courier is not a substitute for this step. If your spouse does not
sign and mail back the Acknowledgment of
Service form, he/she must be
served in person (see below).
In Person: If your spouse is not cooperative with
being served by mail (or if you prefer not to try service by
mail), he/she must be served in person. Your spouse does
not have to sign anything if served in person. The person
who hands the papers to your spouse must swear an affidavit
of service (that
he/she served your spouse. You may not serve your spouse
yourself. You can have
a friend or family member do it for you. If you
need a professional process server to serve your spouse, you
must pay for this yourself (we will l let you know
how to arrange this).
After your spouse is served, the next
step is for you to
swear the required affidavit for divorce. If you live
in the GTA, you can do this for no additional cost at our
office in Toronto. If it is
inconvenient for you to come in for this, you can take the
affidavit to any other commissioner of oaths (lawyer,
notary, court clerks, justices of the peace, etc.) at your
own expense. This can also be done for free at many local
government offices or through your local MPP.
'Set-Down' the divorce:
The second of the two required court
filings is referred to as the 'set-down' (done
at the court for you). The earliest this
filing can be made is 31 days after your spouse is served
with a copy of the Application for Divorce that was filed
with the court. However, most courts will not let you
set-down the divorce until the court receives something
called a 'clearance certificate' from an agency in Ottawa (this is an internal court
process - you are not involved). This usually takes 6 to
weeks from when the Application was initially filed with
the court, but can take longer. Note: If your
divorce is based on separation, the divorce cannot be 'set-down' until you have
been separated for a full year, so if you file 6 months into
your separation, the 'set-down' cannot be filed (and the
divorce cannot be finalized) until 6 months later. The court's final
mandatory fee of $280 is paid at this time.
After your divorce
is 'set-down', you are waiting for a judge to review the
grant the divorce. On average, parties receive their DIVORCE ORDER
(the actual court paper granting the divorce) in the mail
from the court around 4 to 8 weeks after the 'set-down' is
filed. Again, some courts can be much slower
Your divorce takes effect 31
days after the judge grants it (noted as the 'Date of
Order' in the left margin of the final divorce order).
Certificate: The court does
not send you a divorce
certificate unless you request one and pay $19 for it
once the divorce is final. You cannot request or
pay for a divorce certificate in advance. You
are not required to get a divorce certificate except when
you want to get married again.
HOW LONG WILL THIS ALL TAKE?
On average, it takes 2 to 3 months from when
your Application is filed with the court until the court grants
your divorce (the divorce takes effect 31 days after it is
granted). However, some courts are much slower than others.
Note: There is no guarantee about timing.
If you are planning to remarry, you are strongly cautioned not to make
any plans until you have your divorce order in your hands. You will
avoid unnecessary angst and anxiety by not assuming when your
divorce will actually be final.
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