Filing for a divorce is not something that spouses do on a whim. It’s a difficult decision, one that in turn creates many more decisions — decisions concerning the division of assets, the determination of spousal support, and the making of custody and support arrangements for any children produced by the marriage. All of these negotiations can add time to this already complex process. In this page, we’ll explore some of the factors that determine just how long a divorce takes to finalize in Ontario.
Canada Divorce Laws
Laws regarding divorce in Ontario are set at the national level by the Divorce Act of 1985, which has since been amended several times.
In order to file for divorce in Canada, the marriage must have been legal in Canada, one or both spouses must have been a resident of Canada for at least a year prior to filing, and the marriage must have “broken down.” Because Canada allows no-fault divorces and does not require a spouse to provide a reason for a divorce, you must only show that your marriage has broken down by meeting at least one of the following stipulations:
- You and your spouse have been separated for at least one year
- Your spouse has mentally or physically abused you
- Your spouse was unfaithful to you
How Long Does a Divorce Take?
Divorces in Canada typically take at least one calendar year to resolve, as that is the minimum duration of separation required to prove the breakdown of the marriage. This timeframe be expedited when physical abuse or infidelity played a role in the marriage’s breakdown.
The amount of time a divorce takes varies based on the specifics of that particular divorce. The length between filing and finalizing depends on the outstanding issues that need to be resolved between the spouses and how long it takes to either negotiate an agreement on those matters or to resolve them in court.
The most common issues that spouses may have to work through are spousal support and the division of property. Spousal support is determined by the court and requires one spouse to continue providing financial support to the spouse that earns less income. The lower-income spouse may not be entitled to support under certain circumstances, such as if they have substantial assets or their earning potential was not impacted by the marriage.
Typically, the court will consider a number of factors in determining who will pay spousal support and to whom it will be paid, including each spouse’s individual financial status and the length of the marriage. The division of marital property is determined by Ontario law. All property that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage must be divided equally. The increase in the value of any property acquired prior to the marriage is usually divided equally as well.
The quickest way to finalize a divorce would be for you and your spouse to come to an agreement on these issues, as well as child support and child custody, prior to filing for divorce. But if you and your spouse still disagree on any of these issues, those disagreements will need to be resolved before the divorce can be finalized. If you can’t agree, then the issues will need to be decided by a judge in court. This can take weeks or months as resolving your divorce will be at the mercy of the court’s schedule, which often experiences delays.
Contact Carmichael Law
If you are considering filing for a divorce or your spouse has already filed for divorce, an experienced Ontario divorce lawyer can help you pursue the best outcome possible. The compassionate team at Carmichael Law is here to guide you through this challenging process. Contact us today to discuss your needs and concerns in detail.