How Long Does It Take To Get A Divorce In Ontario?

Filing for divorce is no child’s play – the process involves a lot of paperwork, waiting periods, and court appearances. A common question asked by many people contemplating this move is “How long does it take?” The answer is not an easy one to give, as various aspects come into play, including where the divorce is taking place. This guide provides an overview of the process and its timeline, especially for residents in Ontario.

Divorce Processing Time-frame in Ontario

Generally, it can take anywhere from a few months to a year or more to process a divorce, depending on the circumstances. In Ontario, the process averages 4 to 6 months, provided that it is simple – not involving courtroom litigation. It means that both parties must be cooperative.

Grounds for Getting a Divorce in Ontario

Divorces are granted by the Supreme Court of Canada based on any of these grounds:

  • Separation for at least one year
  • Adultery
  • Cruelty

Divorces based on separation are permitted to be filed before or after a period of 90 days of living together during which couples may reconcile. In the event that things don’t work out, they can file.

Factors That Can Affect its Duration

Several moving parts determine how long the divorce process takes. In some cases, they can be relatively straightforward and take a few months. In others, they can be protracted and drawn out, taking years to resolve. These factors are:

  • The severity of the conflict between the spouses
  • The amount of property and assets that need to be divided
  • The amount and complexity of child custody and support arrangements
  • The willingness of the spouses to cooperate and compromise
  • The availability of qualified legal counsel

Each case is unique, and the variables can vary depending on the case. In general, the more difficult the divorce is, the longer it will take.

Steps Involved in Getting a Divorce in Ontario

The first step in getting a divorce in Ontario is to file a divorce application in the Superior Court of Justice. This can be done personally or with the aid of a Toronto divorce lawyer, and there must be grounds for filing, as listed above. Included in the application are:

  • Petitioner’s full name and address
  • Respondent’s full name and address
  • Date of marriage
  • Date of separation
  • Grounds for divorce
  • A statement of facts outlining the reasons for divorce

Upon completion, the court will serve the application and a summons to the respondent, with 30 days to file a response. If the respondent fails to respond within that period or doesn’t file an objection at all, the court will deem that the individual has acknowledged the divorce and it will grant the petitioner a divorce by default.

However, if there is a dispute over the grounds for divorce, that case can be put before a judge for a court hearing. When making a decision, the court will consider the length of the marriage, the divorce grounds, and the best interests of the children (if any). If all the conditions are met, the court will issue a divorce decree.

Petitioners with children will also need to apply for an order to decide issues related to child custody and access. This can include any issues pertaining to child support, spousal support, or both, the visitation schedule, and relocation issues. The court will decide on the custody arrangement that is most likely to be in the best interests of the children.

Benefits of Getting a Divorce in Ontario


The most obvious benefit is the closure that it provides. When the marriage is officially over, so is the legal relationship between the two parties. They both can move on with their lives and start afresh.

Financial Relief

Divorce can also provide financial relief, especially if both partners are unable to agree on financial matters.


Divorced individuals can establish new, healthy boundaries and better relationships with their former spouses and any children they have together.

Cost of Getting a Divorce in Ontario

The cost of getting a divorce can vary depending on several factors, including the type of divorce (contested or uncontested), the length of the divorce process, and the possibility of having children. Generally, it will include court filing fees, legal fees, and potentially other expenses such as mediation or expert testimony.

Uncontested divorces cost significantly less than contested divorces. The former is one in which both spouses agree on all of the terms of the divorce, including child custody and support, property division, and alimony. In most cases, it can be completed within a few months and will only require a minimal amount of legal fees.

The latter, on the other hand, comes at a more significant cost. In this case, both spouses are fighting for a specific outcome and will need to hire lawyers to represent them. The divorce process can take many months or even years to complete and can embed other expenses such as mediation or expert testimony.

In Ontario, the cost averages $632, which is payable in two instalments:

  • 1st instalment: $212 (upon filing the application)
  • 2nd instalment: $420 (when the case is set for hearing)

It is important to consult with a lawyer in Ontario to get a better understanding of how much a divorce application would cost in one’s specific situation.

Related article: How Much Does a Divorce Lawyer Cost in Toronto?

Tips for Reducing the Length of a Divorce Process

There are a few things that can be done to reduce the time it takes to get a divorce.

  • Be as cooperative as possible with the other partner. Spouses who agree collectively on key issues have better chances of moving the process along.
  • Have all the necessary information and documentation ready to submit to the court. This will help to avoid any delays.
  • Be patient and stay focused on the end goal.


Any partner considering divorce needs to understand the process and how long it may take, which is the essence of this guide. Truth be told, it can be long and daunting, but with the right amount of patience and legal guidance, spouses can get it over with in no time. The key takeaway is to prepare all the paperwork and evidence necessary for the application, which can take a while. But once that is done, the court will proceed and grant the divorce.

Related article: Prenuptial Agreement

Yahia Khan