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WHAT RULES GOVERN DIVORCE IN ONTARIO?
Divorce in Ontario is governed by the Divorce Act of Canada.
To get a divorce in Ontario, you will have to show that your marriage has broken down. The law says marriage breakdown has occurred if:
• you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for one year with the idea that your marriage is over; or
• your spouse has committed adultery (had sexual intercourse with someone else); or
• your spouse has been physically or mentally cruel to you, making it unbearable to continue living together.
Cruelty may include acts of physical violence and those causing severe mental anguish.
*Most divorces in Canada are based on one year of separation. Note that 'living separate and apart' does not necessarily mean living in separate homes - you can be separated but share the same home for various reasons (children, money, etc.).
Either your or your spouse's current regular place of residence must be in Ontario and must have been so for at least one consecutive year at the time the divorce is filed. If this is not the case, you cannot start the divorce until at least one of you has been residing here for a full year. There is one exception: you can file for divorce in Ontario if neither spouse lives Ontario if (a) the marriage was performed in Ontario and (b) your home country/state does not recognize the validity of your marriage (e.g. same sex marriage).
UCONTESTED DIVORCE SERVICE
We provide ucontested divorces, where both parties are in agreement about the terms of the divorce. If you have disagreements as to division of property, support and/or child-related issues and want the court to deal with the disagreements, www.LegalZoom.com is not for you. If you use www.LegalZoom.com to file your divorce and your spouse contests it or makes his or her own claim(s), our services end at this point. You will have to continue on your own or get a traditional divorce lawyer.
Legal Basis for Divorce
To use www.LegalZoom.com your divorce must be based on one year of 'separation', adultery (but only where the cheating spouse will admit the adultery in writing and the filing party cannot be the party that committed the adultery) or physical or mental cruelty (the filing party cannot be the party that committed the cruelty and you will need to set out sufficient facts to show that this ground applies to your situation.)
The Divorce Act requires that you have been 'living separate and apart' for one year. 'Living separate and apart' does not necessarily mean in separate residences. www.LegalZoom.com has filed many divorces where the spouses are still sharing the same residence for economic or child-related reasons. You would simply need to state that you live in separate areas of the home. Also note: you can file your divorce before your one-year separation is complete - however, the divorce cannot be finalized until the year is up.
The courts do not require that you have a separation agreement - however any lawyer would recommend that you have one - particularly where you have children and/or own property that must be divided. www.LegalZoom.com will include a Separation Agreement in your forms packet if you have any of these issues present in your marriage.
The Divorce Act requires the court "to satisfy itself that reasonable arrangements have been made for the support of any" minor children. Some judges may force you to at least request an order for support if your spouse is not paying. www.LegalZoom.com will include a Separation Agreement that covers custody, parenting time and child support.
LegalZoom.com wil provide you with the information necessary to determine the appropriate amount of child support. If you are the support payor and you are paying less than what the Federal Child Support Guidelines say that you should be paying, it is very likely that the court will not grant your divorce unless you agree to the proper level of support or unless you have a written agreement or written consent from your spouse with a very good explanation for the lower amount of support. www.LegalZoom.com will not guarantee a divorce where the Applicant is not paying proper child support in most situations.