Filing a Joint Divorce In Ontario

Joint Divorce

There are instances when a married couple mutually agree that it is for the benefit of their relationship that they divorce. The agreement to divorce is in the best interests of the married couple and their relationship. It is possible for the couple to file for what is referred to as a joint divorce.

A joint divorce is a divorce option that is friendly and amicable. It takes the friendly factor one step further as there is no one party who files for divorce against the other. Rather, in a joint divorce all the documents are completed and executed by both parties. Parties to the divorce agree also on all other family law matters such as parenting, spousal support or division of property. A joint divorce is beneficial as both parties really feel that they are ending their relationship on the best possible terms. There is no focus on winning a divorce but rather just moving to the next chapter of a person’s life with minimal conflict.

In order for a couple to use the joint divorce process they must fall into the following criteria:

  • One of the parties must be a resident of Ontario for one year prior to filing the joint statement of claim for divorce
  • The basis or grounds for divorce can only be that the parties have been living separately and apart for one year prior to the divorce judgement being executed. It is important to note that if cruelty or infidelity is the grounds for divorce then this process cannot be used; rather they must use the uncontested divorce route.

With regards to the second criteria it is necessary to understand what constitutes separation for the purposes of divorce. As it is possible for you and your spouse to live in the same house and yet be considered to be living separate and apart for the purposes of the Divorce Act.

In order to complete the joint divorce application Ontario process for you, your lawyer will need the following documentation from you:

  • An original copy of your government-issued marriage certificate. If your marriage was out of the country and you do not have the marriage certificate you will need the marriage details and witness details for your wedding.
  • If parenting is involved:
    -your agreement on a parenting plan
    -both parties’ income summary and agreement on child support, including the agreement on how to pay for additional expenses of the child (such expenses can include activities, education costs, medical or dental, and childcare)
  • If spousal support is involved then a breakdown of the agreement that you have reached on spousal support

It must be noted that on average it takes between 2 to 3 months from when your joint divorce application is filed with the court until the court actually grants your divorce. The divorce takes effect 31 days after your divorce has been granted. That being said it must be noted that some courts are much slower than others. As a result, there is no guarantee about timing.

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