Uncontested divorces in Ontario
Question: What does an uncontested divorce, a simple divorce cost in Ontario?
It depends on the Lawyer and what you mean buy “uncontested” divorce. If a spouse is making no claims against the other and there are either no dependant children, or there is written agreement in place dealing with child support, then the fees can burn between $1500-$2,000, plus disbursements (out of pocket costs.) These disbursements include court fees, the costs of hiring a process server to deliver the Divorce application, and similar expenses, all of which cost an additional amount of approximately $450. Sometimes these disbursements are higher or lower.
In a “friendly” divorce, the other spouse will pick the Divorce Petition up at the Lawyer’s office to save on the process server’s expense. However, some estranged spouses cannot be found. If that happens, the Lawyer will have to obtain a special kind of Court order for “substituted service” and put ads in the newspapers to “notify” the other spouse of the Divorce application, all of which might cost an additional $800-$1250 depending on the Lawyer including disbursements.
You’ll also pay an additional $200-$300 if you’ve been previously divorced and can’t find your old Divorce Judgment or if you were previously divorced in a non-English speaking country.
Finally, here are some cautionary notes about “uncontested divorces.”
One important note of caution: if your spouse resides outside of Canada, the cost to serve him or her can be very expensive and increase your costs. Ontario has treaties now whereby service of a foreign spouse can only be made through the Ontario Government who sends the papers to the government where the foreign spouse resides. The system often fails when the foreign government fails to implement the treaty, so additional funds are required to do so. This extra effort usually costs at least another $1000.
You will also pay an additional $200-$300 if you have been previously divorced and cannot find your old Divorce Judgment or if you were previously divorced in a non-English speaking country.
The best way to find a lawyer is to ask your friend or family if they know a good family law lawyer. Word of mouth is still the best source of referral. If that fails, call the Lawyer Referral Service of the Law Society of Ontario at 1-800-668-7380.
For $6, the Lawyer Referral Service will also provide the name of a lawyer whose office is close to your home address and who will provide up to 30 minutes of free consultation to help you determine your rights and options. You can access the service by calling 1-900-565-4577. Finally, here are some cautionary notes about “uncontested divorces.”
The Effect of COVID-19 19 on Uncontested Divorces
Of course, with COVID-19, the Family Courts usually operate virtually, so you can hire any lawyer in Canada outside of Quebec without ever having to visit a law office. All you need is a phone, debit or credit card, and access to the internet. We offer such services across the Country.
Finally, even when a divorce is uncontested, the Court will ask the party requesting the divorce to explain how much child support, if any, the other parent is paying and whether the amount conforms to the federal Child Support Guidelines. If the amount is less than the amount required, you will have to explain why you are not requesting an Order for the difference. Why does the Court make you go through this step? Simple. Child support is the right of the child, not the parent.
John Syrtash is an associate and family law lawyer with the Toronto firm of GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP.
John T. Syrtash B.A. (Hon.) LL. background:
Invited Speaker on Bill 78, Proposed Changes to Canada’s Divorce Act, House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights (November 26, 2018)
Editor of the Syrtash Family Law Newsletter, Lexis Nexis
President of the Syrtash Spousal Support Database
Author of Religion and Culture in Canadian Family Law, Butterworths
Author A Calendar of Northern Fables, Amazon
Neither GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP nor John Syrtash is liable for any consequences arising from anyone’s reliance on this material,
presented as general information and not as a legal opinion.
John T. Syrtash,
GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP
5255 Yonge Street, Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 6P4
Cell: (416) 886-0359
Fax: (416) 512-9992