STARTING YOUR DIVORCE APPLICATION AT A MINIMAL COST


As you know, at MyOntarioDivorce.com our goal is to enable you to legally separate or get divorced with minimal lawyer involvement. For many, the process is overwhelming. Others assume they can do it all themselves without the advice of a lawyer. The reality is somewhere in between. If you’re going to do it properly, yes, you will have to hire a lawyer for certain steps. But, there are many things that you can do yourself with simply a little guidance.

In today’s post, we will look at the basic procedural steps you must take to file your Divorce Application, and learn what you can do yourself without a lawyer.

Step 1: Fill out your Divorce Application. This is the initial paperwork that is submitted to the court, along with your original marriage certificate, to open your file and alert the court that you are requesting a divorce and/or order to deal with property, children, or any number of other things. You can get the Simple and Joint Divorce Applications on our website. And you can get the Contested Divorce Application by contacting Berman Barristers. There are a number of different types of applications, so be sure to read the instructions and make sure you have selected the right one.  This is a step that you MAY be able to complete yourself, provided that your matter is not overly complicated. If you are involved in a high-conflict divorce (fighting over money, property, children, or anything else), you should contact a lawyer for assistance in preparing your Application.

Step 2: If you are asking the court to order ANYTHING in addition to a divorce, you should have a qualified family lawyer review your application. A Simple Divorce Application is quite simple and does not require you to make a legal argument in most cases. If there are any contested issues, a lawyer will be able to ensure that you have properly outlined your case and set out the appropriate case law to support your position, if necessary.

Step 3: Serve your spouse and file your Divorce Application with the court. When serving your spouse, you must ensure that you choose an approved method of service as outlined in Rule 16 the Rules Of Court. Many people opt to hire a Process Server to ensure that everything is carried out correctly, but you can have someone you know (not you, it must be a third party) serve your spouse while you file your paperwork with the court yourself if you have the time.

Once you have completed these steps, there is a waiting period of 3-4 months while your Application is processed.

Getting a Divorce? Here are answers to Frequently Asked Questions about getting a divorce in Ontario.

1. What are the grounds for divorce?

The Divorce Act sets out only one ground for divorce: the “breakdown of the marriage”.

You establish a breakdown by showing one or more of the following conditions:

(1) you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least one year immediately preceding the determination of the divorce proceeding and were living separate and apart at the commencement of the proceeding; or

(2) your spouse (not you) has committed adultery, or

(b) your spouse is guilty of “cruelty”. That is, he or she treated you with physical or mental cruelty of such a kind as to cause it to be intolerable for you to continue living with your spouse.

Divorce Act, ss. 8(1) and 8(2)(a), (b)(i), (b)(ii)

If you are seeking to obtain a divorce on the ground of adultery or cruelty, you do not have to wait a full year to obtain the divorce. However, bringing these claims can be extremely emotionally taxing on all involved and can be difficult to prove in court. If you wish to claim divorce on the grounds of adultery or cruelty, we would recommend that you consult with and retain an experienced Family Law lawyer, rather than self-represent.

2. I’ve just separated – can I start the divorce process now?

Yes – You can file an Application for Divorce before you have been separated from your spouse for a full year. However, you cannot file the Affidavit for Divorce until the full year has elapsed. Please note: The Divorce Act requires that you live “separate and apart” for at least one year – this does not necessarily mean in separate homes. Many people separate, but stay living in the same home, usually for economic reasons. However, they must be essentially living separate lives in the same home. For example, there is virtually no communication between them, they eat separate meals and occupy separate bedrooms.

3. What if I don’t know where my spouse lives, can I still serve a court document on him or her?

Typically you require a home address so you can serve documents on your spouse. First try searching on www.Canada411.com. If you can’t find his or her address, but know where your spouse works, your spouse can be served at work. If that doesn’t work, we or a process server can be hired to find your spouse and serve the documents. If this fails we will need to obtain an order from the court allowing some form of substituted service, such as serving the documents on a close relative of your spouse.

4. If I just want a divorce, do I have to go to court?

If you and your spouse agree to obtain a divorce, and there are no claims or issues that need to be resolved between you, you will not need to appear before a judge unless the judge has reviewed your divorce documents and he or she feels they need more information before they grant you a divorce. Often, however, the Court Office will contact you for this information, so there will be no need to appear before a judge.

Typically you only need to appear before a judge if the divorce is contested or the claims/issues are complex.

5. Can I get a divorce even if all the issues between myself and I are not settled?

Yes. You can sever the divorce claim from the remaining issues that need to be decided.

These remaining issues are called collateral or corollary relief issues. However, it is the duty of the Court to not grant a divorce until reasonable arrangements have been made for the support of the children. As well, if there is still an issue as to who is going to live exclusively in the matrimonial home (exclusive possession), you should wait to obtain the divorce until the issue is resolved. This is because once you are divorced you are no longer considered a spouse and do not have a claim for exclusive possession if you do not hold title to the home.

6. How do I sever the divorce claim?

You or your spouse will need to bring a Motion for Summary Judgment to separate the divorce claim from the other claims in the divorce application. It can be done as a simple, uncontested divorce if the consent of both parties is filed. If the consent of both parties is not filed, then the matter is generally heard by oral evidence before a judge. The other spouse will have the opportunity to attend to defend the motion if he or she does not wish for the divorce to be obtained prior to trial.

 

I understand that people facing divorce aren’t looking to become experts on the complexities of Ontario Family Law, but I also know that you want to be prepared for what lies ahead.

This article will help you identify what type of divorce you are involved in and explain the most important things you’ll need to know about divorce before moving forward.

Let’s begin with the different types of divorce.

The first is called a “Simple (Uncontested) Divorce.” A Simple Divorce means you and your spouse have come to terms on all the details of your separation. Simple Divorce is a pretty straightforward procedure for couples that have no child custody issues, no property issues, and no financial support issues.

However, if you do have children, share a home together, plan to pay or collect spousal support, then you’ll have what’s called a “Contested Divorce.” Most divorces fall into the Contested category.

When the decision to divorce is made, the natural course of action is to seek out an experienced Divorce Lawyer to help you through the process, but cost can be a major issue for many working-class people.

Hiring a lawyer with expertise in Ontario Family Law starts at an average of $5,000. If your case turns into a fierce battle between you and your spouse, the average cost of divorce can skyrocket to $50,000, if not more.

That kind of expense is simply not an option for many people. Does that mean you should be forced to remain “trapped” in a miserable or unhealthy relationship? No. But sadly, all too often, that’s the case.

Getting divorced begins like any important decision in life: by figuring out your options and then deciding which is the best one for you. The help you will need will really depend on the complexity of your legal issue. My Ontario Divorce offers you an online platform that helps you create your Ontario Divorce forms yourself.

On the other hand, your spouse may have hired a divorce lawyer and you may have decided that you should do the same. If this is the case, do research and ensure that you choose a divorce lawyer who is experienced and has a proven track record in family law. If you think that you have a complex legal matter and need legal advice, you should seek it.

For access to more information and free resources about separation, uncontested divorce and contested divorce

 

Remember, these are only the steps to file your application- there are additional steps to be completed before you can obtain your divorce order. Stay tuned for the continuation of this article, coming soon!

What is an Uncontested divorce?
How do your Simple and Joint Divorce Applications work?
What personal documents will I need in order to get an Uncontested divorce?
How long does the process for an Uncontested divorce take?
How much are the court’s fees?
Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?
If I just want a divorce, do I have to go to court?
I have just separated from my spouse – can I start the divorce process now?
I do not know where my spouse lives. Can I get a divorce?
My spouse lives in another province or country, can I still use MyOntarioDivorce.com?
Do I need a Separation Agreement in order to get a divorce?
What is a Separation Agreement?
How does your Separation Agreement work?
What personal documents will I need in order to complete a Separation Agreement?
Do I need a lawyer to complete a Separation Agreement?
What is your “Ask Our Lawyers” service? And, how does it work?
What customer support do you offer?
Can I really do this online with confidence that it will be done right even without a lawyer?
What is an Uncontested divorce?

An Uncontested divorce means that you are only asking the Court for a divorce and nothing else. If you and your spouse do not have any child custody issues, child and/or spousal support issues, property issues, etc., and all you want is a divorce, then the Uncontested Divorce Application is what you need.

How do your Simple and Joint Divorce Applications work?

MyOntarioDivorce.com’s Simple and Joint Divorce Applications are not the blank forms other websites use. We use a question-driven auto-generated form system which automatically customizes your Application with your personal information at the push of a button- something you will not find anywhere else.

You simply fill out an online questionnaire and your answers are instantly merged into your ready-to-file Application which you print along with a comprehensive set of instructions.

For a sample of how our question-driven auto-generated form system works, click here.

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What personal documents will I need in order to get an Uncontested divorce?

You will need either your original marriage certificate or a certified copy issued by the governmental agency responsible for issuing certifi-cates. Religious certificates will not be accepted by the Divorce Registry. To order a replacement Ontario marriage certificate, click here.

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How long does the process for an Uncontested divorce take?

The length of time it takes to get your divorce depends on how long you had been separated for at the time the Divorce Application was filed. You cannot be divorced unless you have been living separate and apart for one full calendar year.

The length of time also depends on when you file your Affidavit for Divorce after you have been separated for a year, how backlogged the Family Court Judges are, and if the Judge has any questions for you. After the Judge has signed your Divorce Order, your divorce will be effective 31 days from the date of the Divorce Order.

On average, the process for an Uncontested divorce takes a minimum of 2-3 months.

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How much are the court’s fees?

Mandatory court fees include:
$167 when the Application for Divorce is filed; and
$280 when the Affidavit for Divorce is filed about 8 weeks later.

Optional court fees include:
$19 per Certificate of Divorce (Note: The Certificate of Divorce is required for re-marriage).

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Do I need a lawyer to get a divorce?

No, you do not need a lawyer if all you want is a divorce. However, if you have any child custody issues, child and/or spousal support issues, property issues, etc., you would be well-advised to consult with an experienced Family Law Lawyer to make sure you understand your rights and that they are being fully protected.

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If I just want a divorce, do I have to go to court?

If you and your spouse agree to obtain a divorce and there are no claims or issues that need to be resolved between you as part of the Divorce Application, you will not need to appear before a Judge unless the Judge has reviewed your divorce forms and he or she feels they need more information before they grant you a divorce. Often, however, the Court Office will contact you for this information, so there will be no need to appear before a Judge.

Typically, you only need to appear before a Judge if you and your spouse dispute the claims the other is making as part of the Divorce Application and you and your spouse have not agreed to deal with your claims outside of court by means of a Separation Agreement or alternate dispute resolution, such as mediation or arbitration.

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I have just separated from my spouse – can I start the divorce process now?

Yes, you can file an Application for Divorce before you have been separated from your spouse for a full year. However, unless your spouse has committed adultery or cruelty, you cannot file the Affidavit for Divorce until the full year has elapsed (Note: The Divorce Act requires that you live “separate and apart” for at least one year – this does not necessarily mean in separate houses. Many people separate, but stay living in the same houses, usually for economic reasons. However, they must be essentially living separate lives in the same house. For example, there is virtually no communication between them, they eat separate meals, occupy separate bedrooms, etc.).

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I do not know where my spouse lives. Can I get a divorce?

A home address is required in order to serve documents on your spouse. First, try searching www.Canada411.com. If you cannot find his or her address, but know where your spouse works, your spouse can be served at work. Failing that, a Process Server can be hired to find your spouse and served the documents. If that does not work, you will need to obtain an Order from the Court allowing some form of substituted service, such as serving the documents on a relative or close friend of your spouse. To get help with that, click here.

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My spouse lives in another province or country, can I still use MyOntarioDivorce.com?

As long as one of you is living in Ontario and has been for more than a year, you can file for divorce in Ontario.

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Do I need a Separation Agreement in order to get a divorce?

No, you can use our Simple or Joint Divorce Application without having a signed Separation Agreement. However, if you have children you will have to sign an Affidavit along with your Application for divorce confirming that you are paying child support in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines or in a manner that otherwise benefits the children equally or better than the Guidelines. After you get your divorce, you should deal with the remaining issues like custody, access, child support, spousal support, and property division and equalization with our Separation Agreement.

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What is a Separation Agreement?

A Separation Agreement is a legal document signed by married or common law spouses which details the settlement terms and arrange-ments they have reached with respect to the issues that arise following the breakdown of their relationship. It can deal with child custody issues, child and/or spousal support issues, property issues, etc.

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How does your Separation Agreement work?

MyOntarioDivorce.com’s Separation Agreement is completed using our question-driven auto-generated form system which automatically customizes your Separation Agreement with your personal information at the push of a button- something you will not find anywhere else.

You simply fill out an online questionnaire and your answers are instantly merged into a printable Separation Agreement that can be reviewed by one of our affiliated lawyers for a modest additional investment to make sure you have covered all the bases and understand what you are signing.

For a sample of how our question-driven auto-generated form system works, click here.

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What personal documents will I need in order to complete a Separation Agreement?

Some of the personal documents you’ll need include:

Proof of income (such as a pay stub)
Last 3 years Income Tax Returns and Notices of Assessment
Credit Card Statement/Bank Statement on Date of Separation/Date of Marriage/Present Date
Documents verifying value of Assets/Liabilities on Date of Separation/Date of Marriage/Present Date
List of Monthly Expenses
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Do I need a lawyer to complete a Separation Agreement?

Yes, you must ensure your Separation Agreement is legally binding and will be upheld in Court by obtaining Independent Legal Advice. This service can be purchased and arranged through MyOntarioDivorce.com. An experienced Family Law Lawyer will review the Agreement you created using this site before you sign it. The Lawyer will sign a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice certifying that they have explained the legal consequences of the Agreement to you, that you understand it, and that you’re signing it voluntarily.

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What is your “Ask Our Lawyers” service? And, how does it work?

If you have a burning legal question, our Ask Our Lawyers service is where you get the answer. Ask Our Lawyers uses a straightforward pay-per- question model. You pay $69 if you wish an answer to a single question. Lawyers typically respond within 24 hours either with questions they need answered by you or with an answer. Once you receive an answer from the Lawyer assigned to your question, you have the opportunity to ask follow-up questions where needed.

Ask Our Lawyers takes client satisfaction seriously. If you are not satisfied with your answer on Ask Our Lawyers for any reason, you have the opportunity to speak to a Customer Service Representative to discuss your concern. Satisfaction is guaranteed or your money back.

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What customer support do you offer?

MyOntarioDivorce.com is proud of its customer support team and service.

We answer any questions about our service promptly, thoroughly, and courteously via email ([email protected]), chat (click here), or phone (1- 844-898-3200).

Note: Our Customer Service Representatives cannot answer legal questions. If you have a legal question, you may ask it using the Ask Our Lawyers service provided on our site.

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Can I really do this online with confidence that it will be done right even without a lawyer?

There are several reasons for you to feel confident about using our online services:

i) MyOntarioDivorce.com is powered by Zoho Creator

ii) Check out our Testimonials, click here. We can assure you that the testimonials contained on MyOntarioDivorce.com are legitimate from some of our satisfied customers.

iii) MyOntarioDivorce.com processes payments through Stripe, which is a well-respected electronic payment processor who links customers, merchants, and financial institutions to facilitate electronic transactions. To verify that MyOntarioDivorce.com is a Stripe verified merchant, click here.

iv) MyOntarioDivorce.com resides on a secure site (SSL). If you use Internet Explorer as your browser you will see a closed padlock icon in the top right-hand corner of the page. If you use Firefox as your browser you will see a closed padlock icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the page.

We understand that people facing separation often don’t know what the next step should be or where they should turn to for help, and I also know that they want to be prepared for what lies ahead. So, I’ve written this Report to explain the 5 most important steps you’ll need to take in order to solve your divorce problems no matter how bad you think they may be.

The 5 Steps you need to take in order to have a successful divorce are:

1. Think about reconciling;

2. Collect your information and documents;

3. Learn about your legal rights and obligations;

4. Study the art of negotiation;

5. Consult with a lawyer on an “as-needed” basis.

For more information visit www.myontariodivorce.com

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