Family Law
5 minutes reading time

Divorce: Everything You Need to Know to Protect Your Rights and Interests

Written by:
The Tabuchi Law Team
Published on:
The Tabuchi Law Team
November 10, 2023
The Tabuchi Law Team
November 10, 2023

This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to safeguard your rights and interests, helping you make informed decisions with expert legal advice. Let's begin this critical journey with clarity and confidence, ensuring you are well-equipped for the road ahead in Ontario's divorce process.

The Importance of Knowing Divorce Facts

Understanding Ontario's Divorce Laws

Divorce is the formality that ends a marriage. The separation agreement is the document that sets out all of the right and obligations for each party with respect to child custody and support, spousal support and asset division. You should start on the terms of your separation agreement at your earliest opportunity. In getting advice earl, you can avoid a lot of mistakes down the road. The laws relating to child support is set in stone and you must have a good reason to decide on anything different than the government provided child support tables. In other areas such as spousal support and asset division - there is a lot more flexibility for negotiation. You need a good negotiator on your side to ensure that what you get in the Separation Agreement is fair and reasonable. Once separated for one year, you can get a legal divorce.

The Cost of Divorce: What to Expect Financially

Breaking Down the Expenses

The costs of getting a divorce can be tremendous. Of course the more you fight - the more you pay to lawyers! Knowing how to manage these expenses in Ontario is essential. We recommend for a start getting a divorce consultation with one of our experts to set out a plan for the costs and expenses all the way from the beginning of drafting the Separation Agreement to the final divorce. There are lawyer fees, mediators, and fees for other experts like parenting co-ordinators, property/business appraisers. The total cost can vary greatly, depending on whether you and your spouse agree or need a judge to decide. If you both agree, it might just be the paperwork costs. But the price can increase with every court visit and meeting if you don't agree. Planning for these expenses is wise so you're not caught off guard.

Contemplating Divorce? Consider This First

Evolved Thinking

Suppose you're thinking about getting a divorce in Ontario. In that case, there's much to consider before taking that first legal step. Take some time to reflect on whether divorce is the best path for your situation. Sometimes, counselling or a temporary separation can offer perspective.

Therapy, even if not covered by health insurance, will go a long long way to avoiding financial costs! You will learn how to talk to and understand your ex better. Most people underestimate the emotional toll. Divorce can be a stressful and emotionally draining process, not just for the couple but for the entire family. Support from  a professional can be invaluable.

After therapy, finances are the next important aspect of divorce to consider. How will your income, expenses, and lifestyle change post-divorce? Start by listing your shared and individual assets, debts, and financial obligations; this will be key when it's time to divide everything.

For those with children, their well-being and how you'll co-parent should be at the forefront of your decision-making process. Talk about where the children will live, how you'll manage their expenses, and how to ensure their lives remain as stable as possible.

Lastly, it's wise to seek legal advice early on. An experienced divorce lawyer can provide clarity on your rights and what to expect, helping you navigate the complex legal waters that lie ahead. With careful consideration and proper planning, you can make informed choices that lead to a smoother transition for everyone involved.

The Road to Separation: Filing for Divorce in Ontario

Step-by-Step Guide to the Filing Process

Filing for divorce is a process with several steps. Here's what you need to do:

  1. Check if you can apply: You must be legally married in Canada or abroad, plan to separate permanently, and have lived in Ontario for at least a year.
  2. Get your documents together: If you have one, you'll need your marriage certificate and an agreement.
  3. Decide on the type of divorce: Is it joint, where you both agree, or are you just applying?
  4. Fill out the application: There are forms you need to complete which tell the court what you want.
  5. File your application: Take your completed forms to the courthouse. You must pay a fee unless you're eligible for a waiver.
  6. Serve your spouse: Give your spouse a copy of the application in a way that follows the rules.
  7. Wait for a response: Your spouse has 30 days (or 60 if they live outside Canada) to reply.
  8. Next steps: These depend on whether your spouse agrees or not. If they don't, you might go to court.

Grounds for Divorce: What the Law Says

When Can You File for Divorce?

In Ontario, the law sets out specific grounds for divorce that you need to know about. The most common ground is living apart for at least one year. This doesn't mean you must live in different homes, but you must not be living as a couple. It's about more than just physical space; it's about your relationship status during that time.

Other grounds are adultery and cruelty. For adultery, if your spouse had a sexual relationship with someone else after you got married, you can file for divorce. But you can't use this reason if you forgive and live together for more than 90 days after finding out. Cruelty means your spouse has treated you so severely that living together isn't possible. It could be physical or emotional harm, and it must be severe. Like adultery, if things get better and you're together again for over 90 days, this reason won't work anymore.

No matter the grounds, you don't need to prove fault to get a divorce. The law recognizes that sometimes marriages just don't work out. But remember, these reasons can affect other parts of your divorce, like custody of kids or how things are split up. So, talking to a lawyer is always a good idea to get the complete picture.

Dividing It All: Asset Division in Divorce

How Ontario Law Deals with Marital Property

When you divorce, figuring out who gets what is important. The law here has rules to make sure this is done fairly. Usually, the value you both got while married is added and divided equally. This includes things like your house, cars, and money in the bank.

Some things aren't split, though, like gifts or inheritances you got during your marriage, as long as you kept them separate. Also, anything you owned before you married is yours to keep, but if it increased in value, that increase might be shared. This can be a particular case if you have a family home where your kids live. The law tries to ensure kids' lives change as little as possible. Debts are also part of the deal. Any debt piled up while you were married is usually split between both people.

This part of divorce can get really tricky, especially if you have a lot of assets or if you can't agree. That's when having a good lawyer can really help. They can ensure you follow the rules and get a fair share of what you both have.

Contesting vs. Agreeing: Types of Divorce

Navigating Contested and Uncontested Divorce

It can be uncontested or contested when you're getting a divorce in Ontario. An uncontested divorce is when you and your spouse agree on all the essential things like money, property, and, if you have kids, how to take care of them. This kind of divorce is usually quicker and costs less because you don't have to go to court as much.

A contested divorce is when you can't agree. It could be about who keeps the house, pays support, or where the kids live. These divorces take longer and cost more because lawyers and judges get involved to help sort things out. With a contested divorce, you must prepare for court hearings and maybe even a trial. This can be stressful and take a lot of time. An uncontested divorce is more straightforward; you might even be able to do it online.

The Right Legal Ally: Choosing a Divorce Lawyer

Why the Right Lawyer Matters

Choosing the right divorce lawyer in Ontario is crucial in protecting your interests. You want someone who's knowledgeable about the law and who understands what you're going through. They'll be your guide, your advocate, and sometimes your negotiator.

A good lawyer can make a big difference in settling your divorce. They can help keep things fair, especially when splitting your assets or arranging time with your kids. They'll know how to handle your case, whether talking things out calmly or standing up for you in court.

You also want a lawyer you can talk to—someone who listens and explains things in a way you understand. They should be someone who's on your side and wants the best for you, not just now but for your future.

Finding the right lawyer might take some time, but it's worth it. Our legal team at Tabuchi Law will be with you every step of the way, ensuring your divorce goes as smoothly as possible and you come out ready to start the next chapter of your life.


As we wrap up our comprehensive guide on navigating divorce in Ontario, remember that knowledge is your greatest ally. Understanding the ins and outs of divorce law, from the grounds for ending a marriage to the complexities of asset division and the nuances between contested and uncontested divorces, empowers you to make informed decisions.

The cost of divorce, both emotional and financial, underscores the importance of preparation and finding the proper legal counsel. A seasoned divorce lawyer from Tabuchi Law becomes not just an advisor but a steadfast supporter who champions your rights and interests. As you move forward on this challenging journey, take the time to choose a lawyer who resonates with you and your unique situation. With the proper support and guidance, you can navigate through this transitional period towards a hopeful and secure future.

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