How To Navigate Canadian Divorce Laws

It’s perhaps a cliché to say that getting a divorce is hard and heartbreaking, but it is nevertheless true. It is even harder when you go through the courts to settle your divorce, dragging it out for months, and unfortunately for some, years. Precisely because court battles take so long and are very costly, new rules that apply in Toronto try to remedy the situation by having couples who are thinking of separating attend an information session where they can learn about alternative routes to going to court.

If you decide to make the break amicably, that’s wonderful! But if you’re like most who simply can’t agree any more on anything, here are the basic steps for going through the longer Canadian divorce law court system.

1. Firstly you must draw up an application for Divorce and Financial Statement. This is where you state what you want and why you should get the divorce. Here, you can clarify your wants concerning child custody and support, financial assets, debts, or anything else that is important to you. Also decide on the grounds of divorce, whether it is, no-fault or fault. With a no fault divorce you will have to undergo a one year separation before divorce can happen. When the divorce is a fault divorce you will need to provide the court with evidence of your claims. Then issue the application and serve and file it and the financial statement. This is basically opening a court file and once you have done this you can send the documents to your partner or your partner’s lawyer depending on your situation. Once this is done you must file them with an affidavit for service which basically means you swear to the court that you have given the papers to your partner. Your partner must then in turn file a reply within thirty days.

2. Next you will go through a Case Conference where the children’s lawyer will be appointed, and issues will be dealt with such as scheduling and disclosure.

3. What comes next is a process of going through and exchanging important documents with your spouse, usually of the financial nature. There may also be a custody assessment in the case of a dispute. This time, where sometimes it seems like nothing is getting done and you are standing in still waters, is called the Discovery. It’s when you gather up all your evidence to prove your case and disprove your partner’s.

4. Once this terribly gray time is over, a Settlement Conference is called where the situation may be tied up nicely without having to go to trial. A judge will try to get you and your partner in agreement of the terms of divorce, and if you both agree then you will be granted a divorce. This is not to say that you must wait until this Settlement conference to finish the issue. You can settle your divorce at any time during this whole long process as long as you and your partner are able to come to an agreement. If all else fails, then the judge will decide all during a trial, which can last a long time depending on the situation.

With all this to get done just to be finished with your partner, it is no wonder than many people stay in an unhealthy relationship (of course, among other reasons), but familiarizing yourself with the divorce law in Toronto is a great start if you are looking to get divorced. Understanding the basic process it takes even before a trial might also convince you to settle sometime during the process before you even get to the trial.