How to File for a Divorce in Ontario

Learning how to file for a divorce in Ontario and deciding to file for divorce are not decisions that is should be made lightly. Emotions are high and feelings of loss are present, and often times there are many emotional factors at play. From the consideration of separate living arrangements to the consideration of children and property, the move to file a divorce can be daunting. The breakdown of a marriage poses personal conflict and it can also present financial challenges. Filing for divorce requires attention to the impending changes in your life, along with the changes to your child’s life and close relatives who are heavily involved with caring for your child.

Depending on a number of factors, filing for divorce can be simple or complex.

Filing for divorce usually takes the following form:

  1. Prior to filing for divorce, it is recommended that you seek legal counsel from a qualified family lawyer. Tailor Law prides itself in providing services focused on family law.
  2. In determining that divorce is right for you, you should first determine whether you are legally able to file for divorce. You may file for divorce in any one of the following situations:
  • if you have been separated for at least one (1) year and there is no chance of reconciliation between you and your spouse, OR
  • Your spouse was unfaithful to you, OR
  • Your spouse treated you cruelly (cruelty can include physical or verbal cruelty)
  1. If your situation falls in one of the categories above, you would be eligible to file for divorce.
  2. The third step in filing for a divorce involves the consideration of who will stay in the family home, how children and pets will be cared for, whether financial support from one spouse to another will be requested, and the division of property and money.
  3. Following the consideration of the above, and a finalized plan of such considerations, your next step involves filing divorce papers with the court and serving those papers to your spouse. As the process described above is general in nature, it is best to consult with experienced lawyers. Contact Tailor Law now for a free consultation.

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

A contested divorce occurs when parties to a divorce cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. A contested divorce can lead to bitter feelings, animosity and distrust of the other party if these feelings are not already present given the nature of the separation. Contested divorces can cause additional stress, given the time and cost required to settle such disputes. However, if both parties cannot agree amicably to the terms of divorce, contested divorce is necessary. We are here to help you navigate the process and advocate on your behalf during this difficult time.

The issues that usually spar contested divorces are the division of property and debt, parenting time, spousal support, and finances. A contested divorce should not be confused with two parties disagreeing on whether the divorce should proceed or not. A contested divorce simply means that one party disagrees with the other party in regards to a family issue. A divorce still proceeds even if it is contested.

A contested divorce is usually discussed at a hearing prior to trial. If the parties cannot agree to the terms of the divorce, or if they do not agree on other issues, the divorce can proceed to trial. Generally speaking, most contested divorces are settled prior to trial due to the fact that trial is not cheap and is also not ideal from a timing perspective. While most contested divorces are settled prior to trial, Tailor Law is prepared to defend your case if trial is needed. By putting your best case forward, your best interests will be protected. Contact us now for a free consultation.

An Uncontested divorce is a divorce in which the parties agree on how to handle parenting, support, financial matters, and debt issues.

Amicable Divorce

An amicable divorce is the opposite of a contested divorce and therefore also known as an uncontested divorce. If there are no other issues in dispute, such as property matters, childcare, etc., an amicable divorce can be settled seamlessly and quickly. Once all of the necessary forms are in order and acceptable arrangements have been made for the care of all children, a family court judge grants the divorce without you having to go to court.

Seeking a Divorce

If you are seeking a divorce, you should first determine whether you are eligible to file for a divorce. While you may want to get out of the marriage as soon as possible, there are certain considerations that must be met in order to legally file for divorce. If you have been separated for at least one (1) year and you feel that there is no chance of reconciling with your spouse, or your spouse has been unfaithful to you, or your spouse has treated you cruelly, you have the right to file for divorce. You can usually file for divorce at your nearest court registry, but it is always best practice to seek legal counsel first. Tailor Law offers free consultations for parties thinking of filing for divorce.

Divorce Process

A spouse can seek a divorce for any number of reasons. However, the only legal reason a spouse can file a divorce is if one of the following three situations apply:

  • if you have been separated for at least one (1) year and there is no chance of reconciliation between you and your spouse, OR
  • Your spouse has cheated on you, OR
  • Your spouse has treated you cruelly.

As divorce can be a costly process, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as you are thinking of filing for divorce to ensure you fully understand what’s to come. Certain considerations may change the way you approach your divorce. Tailor law firm has two locations in Ontario: Mississauga and Oakville. The staff at Tailor Law are here to assist with providing legal support throughout the divorce process. Going through your divorce is not an option when financial support and custody matters are at stake.

What Does a Divorce in Ontario Cost?

The cost of a divorce can vary. While there is no single estimate on the cost of a divorce in Ontario given the unique issues that each divorce poses, divorces can sometimes expect run in the thousands. If the divorce is amicable, this estimate can be slightly cheaper given the ease and simplicity of the proceedings. Contested divorces tend to be more costly, due to the time and complexity of resolving the issues at hand between two parties. Lawyer fees are based on the amount of time spent on your case, correspondence made between the lawyer, yourself, and other third parties, filing and courier fees, and other legal costs.

In addition to legal fees and expenses, the cost of divorce includes spousal support (if this payment is required by the court), child support, and the need for duplicate items for children when parenting time is split between parents. These items include things like clothing, transit passes, daycare costs, and entertainment expenses.

Legal Aid

Legal aid is a service provided to parties who cannot afford legal services. In determining whether you qualify for legal aid, an application for legal aid must be made to Legal Aid Ontario. Eligibility for legal aid is based on your gross income. Legal Aid Ontario usually requires a financial test based on income.

Divorce Lawyers for Women

Divorce lawyers for women focus on the issues that women typically face in a divorce. Issues can include disputes related to child support, spousal support, the distribution of property, finances, and debt. The lawyers at Tailor Law offer a diversified staff of female lawyers to help women during the difficult period of time.

Divorce Lawyers for Men

Divorce lawyers for men are lawyers who place emphasis on the issues that men face when undergoing a family law issue. Issues can range from spousal support to child custody and the distribution of finances and debt.


At Tailor Law, we appreciate the sensitivity and care required in dealing with family matters. While circumstances that involve family lawyers can create tense environments, at Tailor Law we strive to ensure that family issues are dealt with efficiently and resourcefully. The lawyers at Tailor Law are here to assist in drafting andnegotiating family settlements, child protection orders, divorce proceedings, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, separation agreements, custody agreements, and spousal support. Get started with a family lawyer free consultation at our law firm in Mississauga. Let’s move toward your resolution.


Move Toward Your Resolution

In order to commence divorce proceedings you must first have a legally binding marriage. A religious ceremony without a recognized marriage certificate will not constitute a marriage under the Divorce Act. Further, there must be a breakdown of that marriage either by separation of one year prior to the divorce, by adultery, or by mental or physical cruelty.

Obtaining a divorce will legally dissolve a valid marriage and takes legal effect across Canada. It is important to note that the divorce process is the same for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

There are two types of divorce:
An uncontested divorce is the most straightforward and typically occurs where there is mutual agreement between spouses on the terms of their divorce. For example, the parties agree on matters of division of property, child support, spousal support, and custody, where applicable. This type of divorce is less expensive and the legal process to be granted a divorce is quicker than a contested divorce

In a contested divorce the spouses cannot reach an agreement on the terms of their divorce. As a result a divorce proceeding may give rise to other proceedings. One or both parties may seek corollary relief such as custody, child support, or spousal support. Contested divorces are more complex and lengthy as parties move through the court process.

Searching For The Best Divorce Lawyers?

If you are seeking a quick divorce but have corollary issues remaining, you may be permitted to sever the divorce from the other issues which allows the divorce to go forward while the other claims such as spousal support or custody remain outstanding. However, this is only available in cases where it will not disadvantage a spouse or where the court finds that reasonable arrangements have not been made.

To begin the legal process of divorce you must serve and file an Application. It is important to note you have been served with an Application, you must move swiftly as you only have 30 days to serve and file your Answer with the court.

The amount of time it may take for a court to grant you a divorce will depend on your claim and complexity of your individual case. While you can do it on your own, it is beneficial to have a family lawyer as your representative to achieve the best possible outcome. At Tailor Law, our lawyers are experienced in family law matters and are committed to advancing your interests in a timely and cost effective manner.

Forms & Other Resources for Ontario & Local GTA Courts

There are a number of forms and resources for Ontario family law matters.

Family law covers a number of different areas:

  • Child health, child welfare, child custody, and child access
  • Matrimonial property and the distribution of property
  • Uncontested divorces and contested divorces
  • Negotiation of spousal support (also known as alimony)

As family law is a diverse area of law, there are numerous resources available on the web to help you get started in researching your next step in a divorce or custody dispute.

One official government resource that provides detailed services to individuals who wish to understand custody issues and divorce processes in greater detail is the Ministry of the Attorney General website for Ontario. The Attorney General has produced a handbook on family law in Ontario which can be found here. The handbook outlines topics related to common law unions, topics on going to court, choosing a lawyer, your legal rights and obligations with respect to children, and many other common issues found in family law.

‘Cleo’ (Community Legal Education Ontario) is another resource that can provide assistance with family law questions. Cleo publishes a number of up to date resources and publications on legal resources, including family law publications and tools. Cleo’s resources can be found here.

As there are different levels of family law courts in Ontario, it is important to note that each family law court operates in a different manner. For instance, there are Superior Courts of Justice and the Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice. There are various family law courthouses in Toronto, Brampton, Oshawa, Whitby, and Newmarket.