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Ontario Divorce Law FAQ

The process of divorce involves many considerations and decisions that affect a family forever. At Frenkel Tobin, we come with extensive experience in helping numerous families navigate the divorce process.

One important consideration for the court before issuing divorce orders is making sure spouses come up with proper reasonable arrangements for the care of the children. This is why your divorce may not be granted before child custody and support matters are settled. We can help you come up with an agreement with your spouse to help speed up the divorce process. The proceedings will likely be adjourned, and the court will not settle the order unless and until reasonable arrangements on how to care for the children are made and the court is satisfied that they will be adhered to.

The time it takes to complete the divorce process will vary from couple to couple depending on their unique circumstances, but on average simple divorce will take from 4 to 6 months in Ontario not including custody, support or property division issues. For instance, if the divorce is on claims of adultery or physical abuse and there’s sufficient evidence to prove this, the divorce may be granted immediately. However, if there is a mandatory one-year separation before the divorce is granted, you’ll have to wait longer. Keep in mind that in the Divorce Act s.12(2) couples must wait another 31 days after the order has been made for divorce to take effect. However, there are special circumstances where this requirement may be waived.

Depending on how simple or complicated your case is it recommended to seek legal advice from a professional divorce lawyer. For simple divorce cases that don’t involve kids or joint property, you may not need a lawyer. However, if you have kids or joint property such as real estate, cars, or business that any of you would like to keep after the divorce, it’s strongly advisable that you hire an experienced divorce lawyer.

Separation agreements in Ontario allow divorcing couple to live in the same house and still be considered separated from his/her spouse if following conditions are met:

  • There must be physical separation
  • There must be withdrawal by one or both spouses from the matrimonial obligation
  • There must be absence of sexual relations

Other factors such as discussion of family problems, communication between the spouses, presence, or absence of the spouse in joint social activities and whether the spouse has filed income tax as ‘separated’ or ‘married’.

The steps leading to divorce vary depending on your situation. If your spouse is putting you through intense abuse (whether physical or emotional) that has made cohabitation intolerable, you may be able to obtain divorce instantly. Keep in mind that proving adultery, physical and emotional abuse, and the impact it has had on you can be difficult as you must provide convincing circumstantial evidence.

On the other hand, if you and your spouse wish to get a divorce due to other reasons such as because you don’t love each other or can’t get along then you have to undergo the mandatory one-year separation. This may not necessarily mean living in separate houses as clearly stipulated in the Divorce Act.