Divorce in Ontario

How to File for Divorce in Ontario

The following are the steps required in order to file for divorce in Ontario and receive an Ontario Divorce Certificate. If you are looking for divorce information on another Canadian province you can choose from the flags at the bottom of the page.

The steps are outlined below with the forms required at each stage. Read over the resources and forms section at the bottom for more details on each. There is also a notes section at the bottom that clarifies any key terms or specific rules for parts of the process in Ontario. While this is not often a good time in anyone’s life and can be very confusing, the following overview of the divorce process in Ontario is something that can hopefully clear up any confusion you might have.

Step 1: File.
The first step is to file the forms you’ll need specific to Ontario law to start your family case proceedings. These forms must be filled out in full and delivered to an Ontario court or Justice. Having a lawyer for this process makes it that much easier and will ensure everything is filed correctly and with the right people.

File forms (see below for details)

Form 8 (General Application)
Form 8A (Simple or Joint Application)
Form 13 (Financial Statement with support claims)
Form 13.1 (Financial Statement with property and support claims)

Step 2: Answer.
If you did not file for a divorce with your spouse, they will be served with a blank answer form that must be answered and delivered to the courts within 30 days of receiving it. If you filed together however, this step will be skipped.

File forms (see below for details)

Form 10 (Answer Form)
Form 13 (Financial Statement with support claims)
Form 13.1 (Financial Statement with property and support claims)

Step 3: First Appearance.
The first appearance is in front of a court clerk, and not actually a judge. The clerk will ensure that every relevant party, including the courts, has received all documents involved in the case.

Step 4: Case Conference.
The case conference is the first time you will be in front of a judge. The conference is to inform that judge of everything that cannot be resolved and allows them to determine all information is out in the open to be reviewed. One case conference must be held in every divorce case.

Step 5: Settlement Conference.
A settlement conference is when the judge will start to work with the two parties involved and determine a possible resolution to the conflicts at hand. There will be a lot of back and forth and potential compromise, but if there still is no settlement, then a trial will be set.

Step 6: Trial.
A trial will happen only if you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement even with help from a judge. Here you will need a trial record, which includes a copy of every single document involved in the case thus far along with a table of contents. You will open with your opening statement, which summarizes the case and situation, then you can bring in witnesses to help your case if applicable, followed by closing statements that summarizes everything presented along with why you think the judge should side with you. Decisions can be made either on the spot or on a future date.

Divorce Resources & Divorce Forms

Form 8, which can be found here, is what you need to fill out if neither party in the relationship can come to an agreement on all of the terms regarding finances, child support, custody and more.

Form 8A on the other hand is for when you can agree on the terms. First, the simple application is when you file alone and wait for a response from your spouse. Second, you can file a joint application together where you outline all of the terms you agreed on.

Form 10 is an answer form and must be submitted within 30 days of being served.

Form 13 is a blank financial statement for support claims only (use if no property is being claimed) – keep in mind this must be resubmitted every 30 days if corresponding with the court for another step in the process.

Form 13.1 is a financial statement that is used for both support and property claims.

Filing Documents: This means to file documents with the court requires you to keep a continuous record of everything filed to date. There is an endorsements volume that includes all endorsements made by the court as well as a volume for all forms and pages filed by you and your spouse. These documents must include a table of contents, which must be updated every time something new is filed.

Serving Documents: The term is called service and it means you must deliver all documents involved in the case to any relevant party. There are two methods of service. The first is special service, which means it must be delivered in person to whomever is supposed to receive the documents. Typically this is when opening a case as well as other special circumstances. Note that someone other than you must serve the documents (to your spouse for example). The second method is regular service, which means by courier, mail, fax to a lawyer or in person. Each method has an effective service timeframe.

Property Division: Both parties involved in a divorce must determine their own net property amount by taking a list of all your assets and subtracting a number of different values, such as debt, gifts and personal injury settlements. A lawyer will be able to help you calculate this figure accurately.

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