How soon after my separation can I go to court for a divorce?

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In Ontario, there are two levels of courts that deal with Family Law issues.  The Ontario Court of Justice addresses the issues of custody, access, and child and spousal support.  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice adjudicates on all of the aforementioned issues as well as divorce and property issues.

In order to commence a Family Law proceeding that includes a divorce claim, a litigant must be separated for one year from the other party and one of the two parties must have resided in one province continuously for one year.

A divorce claim can be sought by filing a simple Divorce Application or in a Joint Application for divorce.

The cost of filing an Application that includes a divorce is $167.00.  Further, a payment of $280.00 is required when the Application is reviewed by the Court, for a total of $447.00.  Once a Divorce Order issued, a litigant must wait 31 days before remarrying.

For parties with multiple claims, the divorce claim is addressed during the proceeding.

Some readers may think that waiting for one year to commence a divorce proceeding is very long.  However, this waiting period is relatively short compared to the law that existed regarding divorces prior to 1986.  Before 1986, separated couples had to wait for a total of 3 years before the divorce claim could be reviewed by the Court.

In addition, a litigant had to wait 3 months before remarrying in order to satisfy the Court that neither party wished to appeal the Divorce Order.  Historically, Canadian legislation and Family Courts have been more conservative in order to protect the institution of marriage and the family.


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