Complete Guide to Uncontested Divorce in Toronto

Filing an Uncontested Divorce in Toronto 

When facing the end of a marriage, understanding the process of filing for an uncontested divorce in Toronto can help alleviate some of the stress and uncertainty that accompanies this difficult time. An uncontested divorce is where both parties agree on all the major issues, including division of property, debts, and, if applicable, spousal support, child support, and custody arrangements.

Initial Steps

Understanding Uncontested Divorce: 

An uncontested divorce in Toronto is not just about both parties agreeing to divorce; it’s about agreeing on all the terms of the divorce, including how to divide assets, debts, and responsibilities related to children. This type of divorce tends to be faster and less costly than a contested divorce, where the parties disagree on one or more issues.

Necessary Documents: 

The first step in filing for an uncontested divorce in Toronto involves preparing and submitting several key documents to the court. The primary document is the Application for Divorce, also known as Form 8A. This form requires you to provide details about your marriage and the grounds for divorce. In Canada, the grounds for divorce include living separate and apart for at least one year, adultery, or physical/mental cruelty.

Along with the Application for Divorce, you’ll need to provide:

  • A copy of your marriage certificate. If your marriage took place outside of Canada, you might need to provide additional documentation.
  • Completed forms regarding any child support or spousal support arrangements, if applicable.

Where to File: 

These documents must be filed at the Superior Court of Justice or the Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. The specific courthouse where you should file can depend on where you or your spouse lives.

The Importance of a Separation Agreement: 

Having a separation agreement before filing for divorce serves several important purposes. It demonstrates to the court that you and your spouse have agreed on all significant issues, which can expedite the divorce process.

Filing and Documentation 

Filing for an uncontested divorce in Toronto involves a detailed process with specific forms and documentation.

Required Forms and Documentation

To initiate an uncontested divorce in Toronto, you will need to prepare and submit the following documents:

  1. Application for Divorce (Form 8A): This is the primary document where you state your intention to divorce, citing the ground as living separate and apart for at least one year, adultery, or mental/physical cruelty.
  2. Registration of Divorce Proceeding Form: This form is used to register your divorce with the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings in Ottawa. It ensures no other divorce applications involving the same parties are pending in Canada.
  3. Original or Certified Copy of Marriage Certificate: If you were married in Canada, you would need the original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate. For marriages outside of Canada, additional documentation may be required, such as a statement that your marriage is recognized in Ontario.
  4. Separation Agreement: Though not a requirement, having a signed and dated separation agreement detailing the terms of your divorce (property division, spousal support, child custody, and support arrangements) can facilitate the process.
  5. Form 36: Affidavit for Divorce: This document requires you to swear or affirm that all information provided is true. It is used to support your Application for Divorce.
  6. Form 35.1: Affidavit in Support of Claim for Custody or Access: If you have children, this form outlines the arrangements for their custody and support.

Ensure all forms are filled out accurately and completely. Inaccurate or incomplete forms can delay the process.

Filing Fees and Financial Waivers

Filing Fees: As of the latest information available, the filing fee for an Application for Divorce in Ontario is approximately $632. This includes the fee for filing the initial application and the fee for filing the Judgment for Divorce. However, fees can change, so it’s advisable to verify the current costs with the court where you’ll be filing.

Financial Waivers: For individuals who are unable to afford the filing fees, Ontario courts offer a fee waiver process. To qualify for a fee waiver, you will need to demonstrate financial hardship by providing:

  • Proof of income (such as pay stubs, income tax returns, or social assistance documents).
  • A detailed list of your monthly expenses.
  • Information on your assets and debts.

The necessary form for this process is the “Fee Waiver Request Form,” which can be obtained from any Ontario court office or online through the Ontario Court Services website. The form and supporting documents must be submitted to the court for review. Approval of the fee waiver is at the discretion of the court, based on the financial information provided.

Serving Documents 

In Ontario, serving divorce papers to the other party is a crucial step in the divorce process. Proper service ensures that the other party is officially informed about the divorce proceedings and has an opportunity to respond. Below is an explanation of how to correctly serve divorce papers according to Ontario law, along with options for service if the location of the other party is unknown.

Proper Service of Divorce Papers

Methods of Service: There are two primary methods for serving documents in Ontario: personal service and alternative service.

  • Personal Service: This involves directly handing the divorce papers to the other party. Personal service is required for the initial divorce application (Form 8A) and ensures that there is no question of the document’s receipt. A friend, family member, or professional process server can perform personal service, but it cannot be done by you personally.
  • Alternative Service: If personal service is not possible or practical, documents may be served by mail, courier, or fax, depending on the circumstances and the court’s approval. Alternative service methods require proof that the other party received the documents, such as a signed acknowledgement of receipt.

Affidavit of Service: After the documents have been served, the person who served the documents must complete an Affidavit of Service (Form 6B).  The Affidavit of Service must then be filed with the court.

Service When Location of the Other Party is Unknown

If you do not know the location of your spouse and therefore cannot serve the divorce papers, you have a few options:

Diligent Search: You are required to make a diligent search to locate your spouse.  Documentation of your efforts must be kept as you may need to present this information to the court.

Motion for Substituted Service: If, after a diligent search, you still cannot locate your spouse, you can file a motion with the court for substituted service.

Dispensing with Service: In rare cases, if substituted service is not feasible or would be ineffective, you can file a motion to ask the court to dispense with service altogether. This means you would not need to serve your spouse for the divorce process to proceed. However, this option is typically only considered when all other avenues have been exhausted and there is significant proof that locating and serving the spouse is impossible.


Time Frames Involved

Divorce in Toronto involves understanding the typical timelines for processing and finalization. While uncontested divorces are generally quicker and less complex than contested ones, several factors can influence the duration of the process.

Average Time Frames

For an uncontested divorce in Toronto, the process can vary in length, but there are some general time frames you can expect:

  1. Filing to Service: Once the divorce application is filed with the court, it should be served on the other party as soon as possible. The law requires that this be done within six months of filing, but in practice, it’s often much sooner.
  2. Waiting Period: After the divorce papers have been served, there is a mandatory waiting period before the divorce can proceed. The respondent (the spouse who did not file the application) has 30 days to respond if they are in Canada. If they are outside of Canada but in the United States, they have 60 days. If they are in any other country, the period extends to 90 days. If there is no response within these time frames, the divorce can proceed as uncontested.
  3. Finalization: Once the waiting period has passed and all documents are in order, the divorce order may be issued. In Toronto, the processing time for an uncontested divorce order can vary but typically ranges from 4 to 6 months from the time all required documents are filed with the court. After the divorce order is issued, there is an additional 31-day waiting period before the divorce becomes final and a Certificate of Divorce is issued.

Factors Affecting Duration

Several factors can influence the duration of the divorce process, including:

  • Completeness and Accuracy of Paperwork: Any errors or omissions in the application or supporting documents can lead to delays. Ensuring that all paperwork is completed accurately and thoroughly can help prevent these issues.
  • Court Backlog: The volume of cases before the court can affect processing times. Periods of high demand may lead to longer wait times for your divorce to be finalized.
  • Response Time of the Other Party: If the other party delays in responding or if there are complications in serving the divorce papers, this can extend the process.
  • Submission of Additional Documentation: If the court requires further documentation or clarification on certain points, complying with these requests can add time to the divorce process.
  • Separation Agreement: While having a separation agreement can streamline the process, negotiating and finalizing this agreement can also add time, depending on how quickly and amicably both parties reach an agreement on the terms.
Yahia Khan