Contested Vs. Uncontested Divorce In Ontario

Contested Vs Uncontested Divorce In Ontario

Contested Vs Uncontested Divorce In Ontario

In the province of Ontario, a divorce decree is generally granted after a once married, now separated couple has lived “separate and apart” for more than one year and any underlying issues (such as parenting rights, child support, spousal support or the division of family property) are resolved.

There are two types of divorce that you may apply for. As the name suggests, an uncontested divorce is just that: uncontested. Both parties agree that the marriage is terminated and that a divorce order should be granted.

A contested divorce, on the contrary, entails a disagreement between the parties. Here we take a quick look at both types to help you better understand and know what is required in each scenario.

Uncontested Divorce

If both married parties agree to their own set of terms and conditions regarding their separation, and they are in agreement that there is no chance of reconciliation between them, they may apply for an uncontested divorce.

While this process is easier than a contested divorce, there are still requirements and rules that must be met when completing and filing the forms.

While it may be advantageous for both parties to hire a lawyer to assist with the details, filing and applying for an uncontested divorce is something that you can do on your own. We have provided the following information to assist you.

First off, you will have to obtain a copy of the proper forms in order to apply for your uncontested divorce.

To find the application and all the court documents online, the Ontario government has made them available: File family court documents online.

You will have to file, serve and register your application with the appropriate court. This would be the family court in your municipality or region, or where the children of the marriage currently reside.

If you aren’t sure where to file, the. Divorce and Separation – Ministry of the Attorney General article will be helpful.

This link is also very helpful for providing you with information that you may need should you choose to apply without the assistance of a lawyer.

Along with your application, you will be required to provide a copy of your marriage certificate, any previous court orders or any other domestic contracts with your spouse. If for example, you have a marriage contract or a cohabitation agreement, these documents must be provided to the court when applying for your divorce.

You will also be required to provide detailed explanations of any arrangements that you and your spouse have made regarding child support and/or spousal support payments. The court will not grant you a divorce unless it is satisfied that all support obligations are being met in accordance with the child support guidelines.

Once you have filed this application, you will also be required to fill out a draft Divorce Order, which is the basis for the official divorce decree, whereby a judge signs off and grants you your divorce. 31 days from the date on the Divorce Order (the date the Order was signed by a judge), your divorce will take effect.

We highly suggest that you keep both your Divorce Certificate and your Divorce Order in a safe place. You may be required to present these documents at a later date when for example, you apply for or renew your children’s passports, or you apply for a marriage license in the event that you repartner.

Contested Divorce

Contested Divorce

Disputes frequently arise when both parties cannot agree on the terms of their separation (as it pertains to parenting, child support, spousal support or the division of family property). This lays the foundation for a contested divorce. Many contested divorces can be negotiated and settled with the assistance of counsel without needing a court’s intervention, but some disputes must be resolved by a judge or in court.

In order for a contested divorce to be granted, the court must be satisfied that both parties have been living separate and apart for at least one year (this can include living in the same household with no chance of reconciliation) and that the issues relating to the parties’ children and finances are sorted prior to granting the divorce order.

Contested divorces tend to take longer and are highly dependent on how reasonable each party, and their counsel, is being.

Can I Refuse To Get A Divorce?

In Canada, one party’s refusal to negotiate a separation agreement or execute divorce papers does not mean that a divorce will not be granted.

If you or your spouse refuse to sign, the party seeking it can file for a contested divorce. If one party refuses to show up for a court appearance, the court can, and will, grant orders in that party’s absence, including but not limited to the terms and conditions that the person seeking the divorce has requested from the court. It is almost never in a person’s best interest to ignore court proceedings initiated against them.

Family and Divorce Lawyers in Toronto

Let Us Help

If you are looking for some help to understand your rights or you have questions about the divorce process in Ontario, please contact our family lawyers at Hummingbird Lawyers LLP. We are always available and happy to assist you.

Ruth is an Associate Lawyer with Hummingbird Lawyers Family Law group.

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