Process For a Joint Divorce in Ontario
First, you place your order through the web site and then complete an online divorce intake form.
Track “A”: The following applies to courts that allow all documents to be filed at one time:
- If you paid for the service through the website, we will e-mail the completed forms to you within a few hours to a day or two. If you chose the ‘pay in person’ option, you will review the forms when you come into the office. If you live in the GTA, we will make arrangements for you to come in and sign all of the paperwork. You must bring in your marriage certificate, photo ID and the $447 court fee at this time. If you live outside of the GTA, we will provide you with instructions for signing/swearing the papers where you live – which you will then send to us for filing with the court.
- ezDivorce files the paperwork at the court for you.
- Final Divorce Order: At this point, you are waiting for the court to grant the divorce and mail you the signed final divorce order. This usually takes 2 to 3 months – the same overall timing as a ‘two-step’ divorce described below. The only difference is the timing of when the papers are filed. (The court must obtain some paperwork from an agency in Ottawa before your file can go to a judge. This is the initial 4 to 6 week period in the overall process.) Your divorce takes effect 31 days after the judge grants it.
- Divorce 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. (We will provide you with a mail-in form that you can use.)
Track “B”: The following applies to courts that requires a two-step filing process:
- If you paid for the service through the website, we will e-mail the initial completed forms to you within a few hours to a day or two with instructions for you to print, sign and send back with your marriage certificate and the first court filing fee. If you chose the ‘pay in person’ option, you will review the forms when you come into the office.
ezDivorce files the paperwork with the court for you.
The next step is for each spouse to swear the required affidavit for divorce which we prepare. If you live in the GTA, you can do this at our office in Toronto for no additional cost. 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 clerk, justice of the peace, etc.) at your own expense. This can also be done for free at many local government offices, courts or through your local MPP.
‘Set-Down’ the divorce: The second and final of the two required court filings is referred to as the ‘set-down’ (done by ezDivorce at the court for you). The earliest this filing can be made is when 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 4 to 6 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 papers and grant the divorce. On average, parties receive their FINAL 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 than others.
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).
Divorce 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. (We will provide you with a mail-in form that you can use.)
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 signed final divorce order in your hands. You will avoid unnecessary angst and anxiety by not assuming when your divorce will actually be final. (Some courts, including Oshawa, are extremely slow right now. You can expect Oshawa to take up to 6 six months.)