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Understanding Divorce Criteria and Types in Ontario Courts

  • Divorce Criteria: Divorce in Ontario requires separation for a year, adultery, or physical/emotional abuse.
  • Uncontested Divorce: Simple or joint uncontested divorces save time and costs when both spouses agree on terms.
  • Contested Divorce: When spouses disagree, court intervention or alternative dispute resolution may be necessary.
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Divorce Criteria in Ontario

Are you aware of the criteria that need to be met in order to obtain a divorce from an Ontario court? According to the Divorce Act, one of the following criteria must be satisfied if you are seeking a divorce from your spouse:

  • Separation: You and your spouse have been separated for a minimum of one year. Separation does not necessarily mean living in separate homes; factors such as not sleeping together, occupying separate bedrooms, not performing mutual chores, and not presenting yourselves as a couple can establish the separation.
  • Adultery: Either you or your spouse has committed adultery. If your spouse denies committing adultery, you will need to present evidence to persuade the court, which may involve having witnesses testify to support your claim.
  • Abuse: Either you or your spouse has experienced physical or emotional abuse from the other. Victims of physical or emotional abuse perpetrated by their spouse may also be granted a divorce.

Types of Divorce in Ontario

Once you make the decision to file for divorce, it is essential to be aware of the three types of divorces:

Simple Uncontested Divorce

A simple uncontested divorce refers to a situation where one spouse initiates the divorce proceedings and the other spouse does not contest it. For this type of divorce, it is crucial that both spouses are in agreement on all aspects concerning the divorce such as spousal support, child support, decision-making responsibility, and property division. To ensure clarity and understanding, it is recommended to draft and sign a Separation Agreement that outlines the terms and conditions. Mediation or collaborative law can be utilized as methods to facilitate productive negotiations and reach an agreement on the terms.

Joint Uncontested Divorce

Both spouses file for divorce together using a single joint application. The advantage of this method is that it saves time and costs compared to one partner initiating the divorce and the other responding to it.

Contested Divorce

This type of divorce arises when spouses cannot agree on at least one aspect of their separation. It may involve attending court where a judge will make decisions on their behalf. Alternatively, alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or arbitration can be pursued to minimize the time and costs associated with court proceedings.

Legal Representation

We hope this information has provided you with a better understanding of the divorce process in Ontario. If you require guidance and support, our experienced team at INB Family Law is here to assist you. You can contact us to schedule a consultation if you have further questions.