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Do you want to divorce your spouse? Have you decided to live apart from your spouse? Would you like to get married again, but have not yet formally divorced your former partner?

To divorce in Ontario, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be legally Canada generally recognizes marriages from foreign countries so long as they are performed in a way that is legal in that foreign country.
  • You must have lived with your spouse in Ontario for at least a year. This requirement does not apply to same-sex couples who married in Ontario but have been living for at least a year in a country that does not recognize their Canadian marriage.
  • There has been a breakdown in the marriage which can be proved by one of the following three ways:
  1.  You and your spouse have lived separate and apart for at least one year;
  2.  Your spouse has committed adultery rendering it intolerable to continue cohabiting; or,
  3.  Your spouse has treated you with physical or mental cruelty rendering it intolerable to continue cohabiting.

It is important to note that you are not required to live separate and apart for one year prior to filing for divorce; you may apply for a divorce as soon as you separate from your spouse. However, you and your spouse must live separate and apart for at least one year in order for the divorce order to be granted. Furthermore, you may live with your partner up to 90 days within the year of separation without disrupting the one-year separation period requirement.

If you meet the above-noted requirements, then you may proceed with beginning the divorce process, which includes the following steps:

  1.  You must complete a Divorce Application. There are a variety of forms for different situations, such as situations involving a joint application or a simple divorce application.
  2.  The Divorce Application must be filed at the courthouse in your municipality.
  3.  The Applicant must pay the required filing fees.
  4.  The Applicant must serve the other spouse by having someone other than the Applicant who is at least 18 years old hand deliver a copy of the application to the other spouse.
  5.  Proof of service, also known as Form 6B, must be completed and filed with the court.

Once steps 1 through 5 have been completed, the spouse who is not the Applicant has 30 days to respond. If your spouse does not respond, the divorce will be considered as an uncontested divorce. However, if your partner responds and disagrees with any issues, the divorce will be considered a contested divorce and will require further negotiation.

While it is possible to get a divorce pursuant to terms in a separation agreement, courts may refuse to provide a divorce in certain contexts such as when child support arrangements have not been made. The following are common issues to consider while navigating the divorce process:

  • how property and other assets will be divided;
  • how much financial support such as spousal support and/or child support will be provided;
  • which parent will have decision-making responsibility (formally known as “custody”);
  • how much parenting time will be allocated (formally known as “access”); or,
  • which home the child will reside in.

Given the numerous issues that may arise, it is always recommended to discuss your matter with a family law lawyer to better help you understand the implications of a potential or on-going divorce application. At Chand & Co., our experienced family law lawyers can help you complete and file your divorce application, advise how being married or in a common-law relationship with or without children will affect your separation or divorce, and assist you with navigating negotiations on property division, spousal support, and more.

Should you wish to receive a consultation, please contact our office at 416-583-2377 or you may email us at admin@chandlitigation.com.

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