Step by Step Guide For Filing a Joint Divorce in Ontario
A common misconception is that divorce has to be a process that involves conflict and disagreements. In fact, many couples mutually agree that divorce is the best option for themselves and their partners, and they choose to enter into a joint divorce in Ontario. For this reason, majority of cases in Ontario are “uncontested.”
This is a divorce where both parties agree to the divorce and are able to work together, or through assistance with mediators or family lawyers to create a settlement that is mutually agreeable. This settlement must include all aspects of the divorce, including the division of the property, any applicable child or spousal support issues, parenting and custody issues, as well as management of all debts incurred by the couple during their marriage. Our Divorce Go Lawyers can assist with the preparation of a Separation Agreement alongside a joint divorce in Ontario.
The most efficient and affordable way to move forward when both parties are in agreement about the terms of the divorce is to draft a separation agreement for all of the outstanding issues including child custody/access/support, spousal support, division of assets and equalization of net family property. Once the Agreement is completed, you can file for a joint divorce application in Ontario and obtain your divorce order within a few months.
What are the Benefits of a Joint Divorce in Ontario?
The benefits of a joint divorce in Ontario are considerable for the divorcing couple and the family. With lower conflict, this is a less stressful situation for the children and the adults involved, which is always positive. The parties can create their own settlement agreement, based on the law and their wishes, and that tends to result in lower rates of non-compliance or challenges to the terms of the divorce in the future.
There is also less cost involved in a joint divorce in Ontario. This is particularly true when the couple has resolved most or all of the issues before working with a family lawyer. In these types of situations, the family lawyer drafts the agreement, the couple each seeks Independent Legal Advice on the agreement, and then they file the applicable paperwork to have the court approve the divorce.
This saves the cost of legal support required for extensive negotiations, settlement conferences at the courthouse, meetings, and for a divorce trial if necessary.
What is Needed for a Joint Divorce in Ontario?
The specific form required is Form 8A, and it can be found online. This form needs to be filled out by both yourself and your spouse. There are several additional forms that also need to be completed and submitted. These forms will differ based on the specifics of the divorce, and if there are children of the marriage or of the divorce.
Using the online form requires that the couple, you and your spouse, have been separated for at least one year, and you were married somewhere in Canada or if you have or can obtain an electronically issued marriage certificate from another country.
Due to security fraud issues, a scanned copy of a non-Canadian marriage certificate cannot be used for the online filing option. In some cases, and if a person cannot obtain a copy of a marriage certificate from another country, it is possible to file in person or use Form 36 to explain why the copy is not available.
In addition to Form 8A, which is the joint in Ontario divorce application, you will also need to file Form 25A at the same time. This is the actual Divorce Order, and the Judge who approves the divorce application will sign this form to order the divorce. This form includes all the agreed upon issues and complete settlement information for the divorce. This includes all details of child and/or spousal support, property, assets, and liabilities, and other relevant factors to the divorce as applicable.
The couple will also need to provide a copy of the separation or the settlement agreement. If there have been any court orders previously obtained through the court relating to the divorce or separation, these should also be included with the online application.
What Other Forms are Required for a Joint Divorce in Ontario?
In a joint divorce application, other forms/documents may be required depending on your particular situation. For example, in some cases, a name change certificate is required, a separation agreement or marriage contract, or other legal documents.
What to Have Before Filing a Joint Divorce in Ontario
If you are going to hire Divorce Go to process your divorce, you really only need to bring in your photo ID for the first initial free consultation. If you have a copy of your marriage certificate, you may bring that also. If you have already been separated for one year, we can complete your entire paperwork the same day and you will not have to return to our office. You will receive your divorce Order in approximately 3 months time.
What if the Spouse Agrees to Legal Matters but Not the Divorce?
If you and your spouse have agreed to all family legal matters in the separation, but the spouse does not want to complete the divorce, there is still the option to file a simple divorce in Ontario. In this type of divorce, you will be the sole applicant, file the divorce in court and then have your spouse served with the documents by mail or in person.
How Long does it Take to be Divorced?
The time it takes for the court to process the divorce application varies based on the caseload and the specific court where the application is filed. In most cases, parties filing joint divorce will have their divorce granted in about 60 to 90 days, but in some courts, it can be several months. The divorce is considered final after 31 days from the date of being granted.
Once the divorce is final and the 31 days have passed, the individual can apply to the court for a divorce certificate. This cannot be applied for in advance, and it is required should the individual decide to get married again. These certificates can be applied for at any time and are not necessary to have unless there are specific reasons.