Divorce is more than just falling out of love with your partner, it is the end of a legal contract you have made with another person. This can be both expensive and emotionally exhausting. There are a lot of big decisions that need to be made when getting a divorce such as division of estate and shared assets, spousal support, child custody, learning to live on one income, and so on. It can be overwhelming, which is why we have compiled the 5 most frequently asked questions we receive about divorce, and we’ve broken down the answers for you too.
1. How much does a divorce cost?
Every divorce is different, which means the price of each divorce is different. Some divorcing couples may require extra time to come to an agreement on certain things such as joint custody arrangements for their kids or settling who gets to keep the family house. Therefore, they may require extra efforts to settle their disputes such as mediation, collaborative practice, complicated negotiations, or a trip to family court. Other separating couples may already have come to an agreement on everything and don’t require another process, just a final contract to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. It all depends on the situation. However, according to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General website:
“In total, court fees are $632 to obtain a divorce in Ontario. The first payment of $212 is due when the application for divorce is filed which includes court fees of $202 and $10 that is collected for the federal Department of Justice. Additional court fees of $420 are paid before the divorce is reviewed by the court.”
These are just the filing fees. Most people don’t do their own divorce. We do it for them for a flat fee.
The divorce is just the final step. You need to reach an agreement regarding the issues, such as the children, support and division of property before doing the divorce.
Once again, prices can range based on the additional services you and your partner may require to reach a settlement in your divorce for any outstanding disputes you may be having or for additional legal representation and advice. Keeping in mind that the time you spend speaking with your lawyer, having them draft letters or negotiation agreements all adds up and that time is billed by their hourly rate in addition to the fees mentioned above. Some clients prefer not paying on an hourly basis. We can offer flat fees so you know your costs in advance regardless of the time you spend with your lawyer.
2. How are assets divided in a divorce?
Dividing your family’s assets and property in a divorce can be quite challenging, especially if there are a lot of large assets such as a house or vacation property, pension plans or other shared savings accounts, shared vehicles, stocks, and so on. The bottom line when it comes to dividing assets is to think about your life financially after your divorce. How will you live on your new income and financially afford your life after you and your partner separate? A divorce is not about ‘winning’ and getting the most in the end, it is about dividing the assets as equally and fairly as possible and ensuring you are financially comfortable to move forward after your divorce.
In Ontario, there is an obligation to pay your spouse based on the total assets you both accumulated during the marriage. If you have more assets, you will pay half the difference to your spouse. Here is a good article about how this calculation is done.
3. How long does it take to get a divorce?
Again, this is a question that can vary with each divorce. To put it plainly, a divorce can only be granted to a couple if they have been separated for one year, or if the bases for a breakdown of the marriage has been established (this includes adultery or physical/mental abuse). If you and your spouse have been separated for a year, you can then apply for a divorce. If there are no claims or disputes, a divorce can usually be completed between 4 to 6 months. However, if there are any outstanding claims such as spousal support or division of assets, it can take longer, depending on how long it takes to reach a settlement.
4. What do I need to get a divorce in Ontario?
In Ontario, there are two different types of divorce:
Joint divorce: A joint divorce is a request to divorce with or without other claims or terms. Both spouses must complete the documents that are necessary in order to obtain a divorce.
Simple divorce: A simple divorce is a request for a divorce only with no other claims. It can be made by one spouse or both spouses as a joint application.
Before you file for divorce, you must ensure that you and your spouse both fit the criteria below:
- You or your spouse must have lived in Ontario for one year prior to filing for divorce.
- You and your spouse need to have been separated for one year (as stated earlier).
- You and your spouse must not require a fee waiver.
- You and your spouse must have been married in Canada or you must present an electronically issued marriage certificate from the country your marriage took place.
If you and your spouse fit the description and have all the requirements, then you can proceed with filing for a divorce. Once filed, it takes about 4 to 6 months to get the divorce. We just have to wait until the judges have the time to complete the paperwork.
5. Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?
Although you can apply for a divorce on your own, it is highly recommended that you consult a family lawyer to review your case carefully. Divorces can be tricky to navigate on your own without the right experience and can have major repercussions on your life if not carefully reviewed. So, before you sign anything, it is best to work with a lawyer who understands what you are going through and can help you navigate the divorce process. At Galbraith Family Law, we have seen it all when it comes to divorce and we have the right knowledge and experience to help you make the best possible choice for you and your family’s future. For additional information on the divorce process, we have provided you with free resources on our website. If you need legal advice or you want assistance with filing for a divorce, book a consultation with us today at one of our five offices. For our Barrie office call 705-230-2734, for our Newmarket office call 289-210-4692, or reach our Toronto offices at 647-370-8965. We’re here to help you as much or as little as you need throughout your divorce process and are committed to resolving your family conflict with heart.