You, and your spouse, may know you need and want a divorce, but the thought of going through this stressful, arduous, legal process is daunting, stressful, and filled with all types of emotions. Each case is different, however, and involves many additional yet significant details that must be addressed and agreed upon.

The beginning of the divorce process is to consult with a local Ontario family lawyer. You can go over all the details and concerns about your case; your law team will address all your questions and manage your case professionally, thoroughly, and with empathy.

In Ontario, your divorce is finalized after a judge has signed off your final divorce order. Your divorce starts by filing the proper paperwork and application. This can be done unilaterally or jointly with your spouse. Also, a legal divorce application may be contested if filed by only one spouse.

Simply, some of the first steps your Thornhill divorce lawyer will discuss with you are:

  • A complete and thorough discussion of all the pertinent matters that need to be addressed in your divorce filing.
  • Filling out your divorce application and all necessary legal forms.
  • Submitting all these documents to an Ontario courthouse.
  • Pay all the applicable court fees necessary to file.
  • Pay attention and follow all court rules, regulations, meeting dates, and procedures.

Also, note that the “Divorce Act” is a federal law, but different Canadian provinces and territories are responsible for the processes for getting your divorce. So, your experienced local divorce lawyer will be versed in all the correct forms for your province or territory and how to file them in the local court.

You must follow the local rules of the court that process your divorce. Therefore, it is always wise to get local, proper, and professional legal advice before applying. Your local Ontario divorce law team will thoroughly explain all your rights and responsibilities and how they affect and apply to your situation.

What Are Some Ontario “Grounds For Divorce?

Your lawyer will explain that Canada has “no-fault” divorce. The only grounds you require for filing for divorce is that your marriage has deteriorated in some way. The “Divorce Act” states that your marriage can be considered for divorce if one of the following criteria is met.

  • You have been living apart for one year or more.
  • Your spouse is or has been physically or mentally cruel to you.
  • Your spouse has committed any form of adultery.

Other rules are specific to your case, such as you can apply for a divorce based on a one-year separation but could live together for up to 90 days and try to reconcile. If things don’t work out, you can continue your action for divorce.

You and your spouse may live together in the same home but choose to “separate.” Your  lawyer will tell you how to approach these matters and what factors courts will consider when deciding if you are separated.

As a rule, though, your lawyer will explain that to be able to receive a divorce in Canada, you must meet all these criteria:

  • You and your spouse were legally married under the laws of Canada or the laws of another country, and the marriage is legally recognized in Canada.
  • Your marriage has broken down in some explainable manner.
  • You or your spouse have lived in Ontario (or the province or territory where you apply for your divorce) for a full year immediately before filing your application.

Are There Any Exceptions To the Residency Requirements?

Commonly, only Canadian residents can file for divorce in Canada. If you or your spouse doesn’t live in Canada, then you usually cannot get a divorce there. However, you may be able to terminate your marriage under Canada’s “Civil Marriage Act” but if you need to meet both criteria:

  • You were married legally in Canada.
  • You cannot legally divorce in the country where you or your spouse currently live, as that country does not legally recognize your Canadian marriage.

To successfully get a Canadian divorce under the “Civil Marriage Act,” your divorce lawyer must apply to the Superior Court in the province or territory where you were married. A local family divorce lawyer in Ontario (or the specific province or territory) will professionally advise you on what you’re required to do.

However, you must note that the “Civil Marriages Act” only terminates your marriage. All other details and concerns must be legally addressed in your current country, such as child support, spousal support, custody arrangements, and asset dispersal.

How Are Myriad Serious Issues Regarding My Divorce Resolved?

This is the most challenging part of a divorce proceeding. Questions regarding vital matters, such as child custody, child support, property, and asset distribution, must be addressed and decided on. It’s always best to address all these matters and let your experienced divorce lawyer negotiate with your spouse (or their lawyer)on your behalf.

The last thing you want is that you and your ex-spouse can’t agree, and the courts may make these decisions for you.

For example, a simple thing such as property or asset division can be enormously complex. This general process of property division in family law in Ontario is referred to as equalization.

It consists of two steps.

  • Calculating net family property – You and your ex-spouse must list your assets and their total value at the time of separation. All debts owing at separation must be discussed, and the property you brought into the marriage, inherited, etc.
  • Sharing the family property – You must disclose the amount of your net family property. All property and assets will usually be split 50/50 between you and your ex-spouse. This is called “equalization” and is Ontario’s most common method of property division.

This is only one example of why you must always use a lawyer when filing for divorce to ensure that all this information is accurate and your rights are protected.

I Need a Divorce in Ontario; How Should I Proceed?

No matter how hard you try, divorce is always a stressful, emotional, and arduous legal process. It’s invaluable to receive the most professional, thorough, and detailed information to protect your rights.

Most marital issues, procedures, and rules are overly complex, and a detailed, empathetic, and communicative lawyer can assist you in navigating them all. You’ll need all the information on divorce proceedings you can obtain, and you need to consult with a professional Ontario family law team today.