How to File For Divorce in Ontario
You’ve tried reason. You’ve tried reconciliation. But your marriage is beyond saving for one reason, or a number of reasons, and you’re wondering how to file for divorce.
Once you’ve made up your mind and made your decision, you want the rest to move as quickly as possible.
So let’s take a look at exactly how you should proceed,
Confirm You Have Legal Grounds
This is fairly simple in Canada. You have legal grounds for divorce, if:
- You and your spouse have lived separate and apart for one year (separation grounds)
- Your spouse has committed adultery; or
- Your spouse has been cruel or abusive to you (physically or mentally) or your children
From there, you will determine what type of divorce this will be:
Uncontested Divorce: Exactly what it sounds like. Things are amicable and you can easily agree on terms and conditions
Contested Divorce: You’re going to have difficulty deciding on things like child support and child custody.
Consult with a Divorce Lawyer
Even if you’re facing an uncontested divorce, we still recommend working with a divorce or family lawyer to make sure everything is documented and filed correctly. You do not want to find out your child custody agreement wasn’t actually legally binding, just in case someone changes their mind down the line.
If you’re facing a contested divorce, you will 100% need a divorce lawyer. Many people have tried to go through the process without one and suffered. They’ve dragged the process out far longer than it needs to be, while actually costing themselves several thousands of dollars more, when you factor everything in.
There is going to be far too much stress during this process to go in alone.
Create a Separation Agreement
This is the hard part, and the phase where will you need to lean on your legal support the most.
The laws and complexities surrounding coming to a legally binding and fair agreement can be emotionally charged and complicated.
You will map out and commit to terms for:
- Child support
- Child custody and visitation
- Spousal support
- Property and asset division
If things break down here, you may need to move onto the next phase.
Escalate to Mediation, Arbitration, or Family Court
If you’re not able to work with each other and each other’s legal representation, you may have to go another route:
- Mediation or Arbitration: Work with a neutral 3rd party to come to a consensus. This is far less contentious and costly than family court.
- Family Court: Both sides make their case to a judge, who has the final say. This can be very expensive and drag on for months.
We Can Show You How to File for Divorce
Our firm has the experience and expertise to guide you through every single phase of the divorce process.
Galbraith Family Law lawyers are trained in Collaborative Practice, and we have been named the top firm by the Barrie Examiner multiple times. Our legal insights have also been featured in the Globe and Mail, as well as Lawyers Weekly.
Click here to contact us, or to schedule a consultation. Or you can call the local office listed at the top of the page.