How to Serve the Divorce Papers in Ontario

Once you’ve filled out the proper divorce papers, you need to serve them to the opposite party- your spouse. In Ontario, there are many rules that govern this process.

The divorce process is a difficult time for everyone involved. You have to decide what will happen with your finances, children and property so it’s important that you guys choose wisely because there are only one of each!


Why Service is required:

Serving someone’s divorce papers is a way of legally notifying them that the divorce process is commencing. It is a necessary part of commencing the proceedings because your spouse is entitled to have notice of your intentions to divorce them, and to have a chance to respond and tell their own side of the story..


How to serve Divorce Papers:

Rule 6 of the Family Law Rules describes how to serve your documents to another party. Documents can be served by either yourself or another person who is at least 18 years of age, or a professional process server.



When to serve Divorce Papers:

Rule 3 of the Family Law Rules explains how to count time. Read it carefully so that you know how to interpret deadlines. Also, be aware that the effective service date for your document will depend on how you serve it.



What Type of Service should you use?

Certain documents, like divorce applications, require special service, but generally cannot be personally served by you unless you fall into one of the exempted groups.



How to serve Divorce Papers via REGULAR SERVICE:

  • 1) You can mail the documents to your spouse’s lawyer, or in the absence of a lawyer, directly to that spouse
  • 2) You can use a courier service to deliver the divorce papers. A courier service is one that delivers documents and packages quickly.
  • 3) A digital platform that allows a party to upload a document, which the opposing party’s lawyer can download and then issue and acknowledge a receipt. If the other party does not have a lawyer, they can also be faxed the documents directly via this platform.
  • 4) Faxing the documents to the spouse or their lawyer (with certain exceptions)
  • 5) Via e-mail to either the spouse directly or their lawyer.

If serving the documents by fax, e-mail or electronic documents, the first page should include:

  • 1) Date and time of service
  • 2) Sender’s name, telephone number, and fax number/e-mail address
  • 3) The name of the person/lawyer to be served
  • 4) The total number of pages served
  • 5) Title or description of the document
  • 6) The name and telephone number of a person to contact in case of technical difficulty in receiving the documents being served



How to serve documents via SPECIAL SERVICE:

  • 1) Leaving a copy with the person who is being served
  • 2) Leaving a copy with the person’s lawyer of record in the case or a lawyer who accepts service in writing on a copy of the document
  • 3) Mailing copy of the document along with Form 6 (Acknowledgement of Service), which the person being served must complete and return via mail.
  • 4) When serving someone, one can send a copy of the document in an envelope to their address and then mail it again for good measure.

If a spouse is avoiding being served a document, they can be served through different methods to catch them off, guard.

Tailor Law offers a variety of services that can help with the divorce process. From drafting wills, creating trust agreements or enduring separation without fighting over finances-we’ve got it covered! If you are looking into divorcing your spouse, reach out to one of our experts in family law in Mississauga for a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

We highly discourage anyone from seeking out legal advice through this article. This article only provides general information and should you require assistance, please contact our family lawyers in Toronto to book a free initial consultation.

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