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Procedure for a ‘Simple’ Divorce

Completing a ‘Simple’ divorce through the Ontario courts is a relatively straightforward procedure.

Prior to bringing your divorce Application you should first resolve all of the corollary issues surrounding your separation, such as parenting issues, child support, spousal support, property division and property claims.  This is usually done by way of a Separation Agreement. The court will look particularly at the provisions in place for child support. If these are not adequate, the court may not grant the divorce.  The corollary issues can also be resolved through a court order or an arbitration award.  It is possible to sever a divorce from the corollary relief issues.

Obtaining a divorce prior to addressing the corollary relief issues can have surprising consequences because it terminates the spousal relationship.  It may affect a spouse’s right to stay at the matrimonial home, or the eligibility to insurance rights or rights to an Estate.

Assuming the corollary relief issues have been addressed or considered, the procedure for completing the divorce is as follows:


Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria for a simple divorce in Ontario. Generally, you must have been separated from your spouse for at least one year.

Legal Grounds:

In Ontario, you don’t need to prove fault or wrongdoing for a divorce. The only ground for divorce is the breakdown of the marriage, which is typically demonstrated by one year of separation. The Application details other grounds which can be used – cruelty or adultery. Normally it is not recommended to apply either of these grounds, as they would require evidentiary proof, which would slow down the proceedings considerably and increase cost.


Complete the necessary forms for a divorce.  The initiating form is the Application for Divorce (Form 8).

Fill Out Forms and File the Application:

Complete the Application accurately. Take the completed form to the family court in the jurisdiction where either you or your spouse resides. Pay the filing fee, which can vary. The court will issue the Application and provide a court file number.

Serve the Application:

After issuance, you must serve a copy of the Application on your spouse. This can be done through a process server, or by another individual over the age of 18. Service must be in person, and the person seeking a divorce cannot serve the Application.

Affidavit of Service:

You will need to complete an Affidavit of Service (Form 6B) to confirm that the Application has been served according to the Family Law Rules. This Affidavit of Service should be filed with the court.

Waiting Period & Affidavit for Divorce:

After your spouse has been served, there is a mandatory waiting period of 30 days. If there are no disputes, the divorce can proceed.  At this time you should complete form 36, the Affidavit for Divorce. This form will need to be witnessed by a commissioner for taking oaths. This affidavit must provide particulars about the marriage, the separation and support arrangements, including whether the child support arrangements are consistent with the Child Support Guidelines.  The Affidavit for Divorce does not need to be served, and can be filed with the court. There is a further filing fee for this.

Court Hearing (if required):

In rare cases, a court hearing may be necessary, especially if there are disputes or concerns. If the court is satisfied with the documentation and there are no outstanding issues, a divorce order will be granted.

Final Divorce Certificate

Once the divorce is granted, you will receive a Divorce Order. After 31 days from the date of that order, you can request a Certificate of Divorce from the court.

Written by Marie Keeler