Is an E-Filing Divorce System Coming to Ontario?
You may have met your soulmate online. But will there be a day where you can swipe left to send them a divorce?
Not quite yet, but there are a lot of people calling for a modernization of the divorce system in Canada. And that includes the digitization of documents and procedures. One of the people calling for a system update is Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi.
“We’re looking at all different ways to make services available online. E-filing is, in my view, the very first important step we have to do,” said Yasir Naqvi.
“I wanted to see on the family law side what could be done, so we’ve asked to see if divorce applications could be filed online.”
Elsewhere, our own Brian Galbraith of Galbraith Family Law PC is also onboard with moving things online.
“It will make divorce work more efficient so it should result in a cost savings to the consumer,” said Galbraith.
Would an E-Divorce Be Cheaper?
In theory, these digital divorces would be for people looking for a non-contested divorce– it’s unlikely custody or property disputes will ever be solved over something like Skype. Although teleconferencing tools like Skype have been used to help bring someone “into” a courtroom, if they’re too geographically too far to reasonably be there in person.
However, the intricacies of settling people’s contentious property, support and child custody arrangements will take place in a family court, or in a boardroom with mediation.
But, it’s reasonable, in the case of an uncontested divorce to use some sort of system where you could:
- Serve notification
- Outline agreed upon custody, asset and support arrangements
- Sign all required documents
- Submit all required documents
This would theoretically be much faster and perhaps reduce Ontario’s mountains of paperwork.
This would also reduce costs for people who may need to travel over great distances to file their divorce.
Divorce in the Digital World
We have seen the modernization of divorce make the headlines before. In 2015, CNN reported that a New York woman got permission to file papers online, after the groom had no fixed address, no place of employment and had seemingly disappeared.
Justice Matthew Cooper gave the jilted bride the OK to serve over Facebook, and said the “advent and ascendency of social media,” means sites like Facebook and Twitter are the “next frontier” as “forums through which a summons can be delivered.”
This bride was not looking for money or custody of any children. She simply wanted to make the divorce official so she could move on with her life.
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