What Is The Process Of Uncontested Divorce

In Canada, almost 40% of marriages end in divorce.1 However, not all divorces look like Netflix’s Marriage Story, with spouses spending thousands of dollars for an ugly courtroom battle. Some divorces, like an “uncontested divorce”, are much more amicable.

What is an “Uncontested Divorce”?

In Ontario, there are generally two types of divorce applications: uncontested and contested. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to the divorce and are on the same page with related issues like decisions about the child such as child support payments, spousal support, division of property, and child custody. It may be that support obligations and custody are not disputed or neither spouse is claiming it. An uncontested divorce can further split into categories: a simple uncontested divorce and a joint uncontested divorce.

A simple uncontested divorce is when one party files for divorce and only asks the court for the divorce and no other relief. The party filing for divorce is required to serve the divorce application to the other party, who has to respond within a given time frame. If they fail to respond, the divorce application proceeds without them.

A joint uncontested divorce is where both parties agree to file for divorce only. Additionally, both parties may file a separation agreement with the divorce application dealing with other issues like division of property, spousal/child support, and custody/access of their children. Since a joint uncontested divorce involved both parties filing the divorce application, the required step of serving a copy of the application to the other party can be skipped.

What are the steps for an “Uncontested Divorce”?

The divorce process starts with separation. Both partners need to live “separate and apart” for a minimum of one year. Although one partner usually moves out of the matrimonial home, this does not have to be the case. In other words, it is possible to live “separate and apart” within the same residence. If both parties remain in the same home, they must simply show that during the separation, they lived independently i.e. slept in different rooms, did not eat together, etc.

The next step is drafting a Separation Agreement. The Separation Agreement outlines the terms of the divorce, which includes spousal support, child support, division of property, and custody of the children.

After both parties are separated for one year, the divorce can be filed. To apply for a divorce, the required documents are the Application for Divorce and an Affidavit of Service. When issuing the application at the court office, you will need three copies of the Application, the Affidavit of Service, either a marriage certificate or marriage registration certificate, and money to pay the filing fees.2

Although filing an uncontested divorce in Ontario is possible without a lawyer, it is beneficial to still meet with one. Legal paperwork is known for being complicated and time-consuming. A lawyer can ensure the documents are properly drafted and sworn, which can save a lot of stress. Lawyers also have experience completing divorce applications and know-how to navigate the legal system. Overall, lawyers are useful because they can ensure divorces are completed efficiently.

If you are looking for more information or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to discuss your matter over with a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

1 Statistics Canada, “Divorce rates by year of marriage” (June 12th, 2020)

2 The Law Society of Ontario, “Resources” (June 12th, 2020)

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