Divorce Procedure 

In Canada, a lawfully married person who wishes to terminate their marriage must start a divorce proceeding. During this application, the same party may also ask the court to deal with issues of support and/or parenting under the Divorce Act, along with property claims under the Family Law Act. Sometimes the parties have already settled all such issues under a separation agreement and only wish to proceed on the divorce alone.

Defended and Undefended Divorce

An application for divorce can proceed on a contested or uncontested basis. If the above-named issues have not been resolved the divorce will almost certainly be contested. If those issues have been resolved previously, the divorce will likely proceed on an uncontested basis. There are two methods for a divorce to proceed on an uncontested basis. The first is when the parties file for divorce together. This is known as a joint application. The second method is when one party files for divorce and the other party does not contest it, once they have received the application.

If the parties have already negotiated and signed a separation agreement, the party or parties filing for the divorce, can ask that certain provisions of the agreement be incorporated into the divorce order.

Starting a Divorce Procedure

Divorce procedure in Ontario is governed primarily by the Family Law Rules. While divorce itself can only be granted by the federal government, it is the province which gets to legislate the actual procedure. In Ontario, the municipal jurisdiction where either party resides can serve as the appropriate venue to file such an application. An alternate jurisdiction can only work with the consent of the court and both parties.

At a bare minimum the applicant will require the marriage certificate to begin the divorce proceeding. If it was issued by a different country, a translation into English will be required. If it was issued by Ontario, but cannot be located, it can be requested from the appropriate Ontario ministry.

A divorce proceeding which is started by one spouse only is referred to as an application for divorce and the said spouse is now the applicant. Care needs to be exercised when filling out and filing this application, as any errors may set back proceedings by several months. Once it is issued, it must be properly served on the responding party. Once again, the Family Law Rules govern how service should be affected. These rules differ for parties who reside inside and outside of Ontario, with parties outside of Canada carrying particularly onerous requirements. However, once the party is properly served an appropriate amount of time needs to pass to allow them time to respond.

The responding spouse is referred to as the respondent. Once they receive service they have several options. They can file an answer where they ask for their own relief, whether its to deny the divorce or some other claim. Alternately, they can simply ignore the application. If they choose the latter the application will proceed on an uncontested basis, effectively allowing the application to proceed without further input from the responding party.

The party proceeding on an uncontested basis will now file an Affidavit for Divorce in which they outline to the court why a divorce in their case is warranted. It must be properly filled out, outlining the grounds for the divorce, and properly commissioned by a notary public before it can be filed with the court. If the respondent did not file an answer, the affidavit does not need to be served.

Joint Divorce Application

When two spouses file jointly for a divorce they use a different application process. A different family law form is filled out and both parties swear affidavits to support the divorce. Service is not required in such an application as both spouses are already aware of it. Since service is usually the most time-consuming aspect of a divorce, joint applications generally proceed much quicker than standard ones.

Additional Documents for a Simple Divorce on Adultery

The most common ground for divorce is that the spouse were separated for a period of at least one year. However, divorce may be granted on two other grounds as well, namely Adultery and Cruelty. While both might be granted quicker than the separation ground, they also require additional evidence, usually by way of affidavit. Either of the parties may swear what they know to be true, or what is supported by some other evidence which can be attached to the affidavit as exhibits. The court has to be satisfied, based on the evidence before it, that adultery or cruelty indeed took place in the marriage and warrants a divorce order. Further, the court must be satisfied that neither party colluded or connived to fabricate any evidence to speed up the proceedings.

If you are looking for a consultation, or have questions regarding your separation or divorce, call Empel Law Professional Corporation at 416-500-1937 to book one today.

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Arkadiusz J. Empel urodził się w Katowicah. Jako dziecko emigrował do Kanady, razem z rodziną, lecz wrócił jako student aby ukończyć Pracę Magisterską w Krakowie. Przez swoją pracę z polonią w okolicy Toronto utrzymał władność w swojim języku ojczystym. Jeżeli Państwo życzy się skonsultować prosto z adwokatem Polski, proszę przedzwonić na numer 416-500-1937.