Hague Convention Service and Divorce in Ontario

URGENT NOTICE: Although divorces in Ontario are governed by the Family Law Rules, under the Rules of Civil Procedure, service of documents outside of Canada must be made in accordance with the “Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters”, commonly known as the ‘Hague Convention’ and ‘Hague Service’. Even though this Convention has been in force in Canada since 1999,  it has generally not been applied by Ontario courts to uncontested, simple divorce in Ontario until 2106.

A recent Ontario Divisional Court (of the Superior Court of Justice) decision has confirmed a judge’s ruling that “The Hague Service Convention applies to matters described in r. 1 (2) of the Family Law Rules. Compliance with the Hague Service Convention is therefore mandatory” (emphasis added) (Wang v. Lin, 2016 ONSC 3967).

If you are starting a new divorce where your spouse lives outside of Canada in certain countries*, if he or she is cooperative, it will be best do it as a ‘joint’ divorce. If that is not possible, formal* service of the filed Application for Divorce pursuant to the Hague Convention might be be required*. The ezDivorce.ca fee does not include arranging formal Hague Service. Our fee to organize formal service pursuant to the Hague Convention for you is an additional $250 + hst + disbursements on top of our regular fees. Disbursements will include courier fees and may include translation fees and fees the receiving country’s Central Authority charges. You can avoid these additional fees if you do a ‘joint’ divorce. See www.ezdivorce.ca/process. The additional fee will not apply if your spouse lives in a “Hague” jurisdiction that does not object to service by mail and if your spouse is cooperative with being served by mail. Email us and we will tell you the requirements for where your spouse lives. 

*Note: Not all countries are covered by the Convention. Notable exceptions are: Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, Jamaica, the Philippines and most African and Middle Eastern countries. You can see a complete list here.

Timing: You should expect that your divorce in Ontario that is subject to the Hague Convention may take significantly longer than a non-Hague Service divorce in Ontario.