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Unlocking the Process: Understanding Divorce Criteria and Types in Ontario Courts

a broken paper heart on a string

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:

a) You and your spouse have been separated for a minimum of one year.

b) Either you or your spouse has committed adultery.

c) Either you or your spouse has experienced physical or emotional abuse from the other.

It is important to note that 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 is recognized as another ground for divorce. If your spouse denies committing adultery, you will need to present evidence to persuade the court. This may involve having witnesses testify to support your claim.

Victims of physical or emotional abuse perpetrated by their spouse may also be granted a divorce.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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 at or 905-215-1905 to schedule a consultation.

*Section 8(2) of the Divorce Act

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