Ontario Family Law Changes (Part 1 – Joint Divorce Applications)

 

Ontario Family Law Changes

Recent legislation has resulted in some significant changes to Ontario’s Family Law framework. As individuals and families prepare for what can be a difficult and emotional time, here’s what these changes means for you.

The first change deals with Joint Divorce Applications. Effective April 23rd, 2018, the Ontario Courts have launched a pilot project that allows for Joint Divorce Applications to be filed online. To qualify, there are a few prerequisites.

 

First, one of the spouses must currently live in one of the four pilot locations – either Brampton, Hamilton, Ottawa or Toronto. That spouse must have lived in Ontario for at least one year leading up to the filing of the application and must have been separated from their spouse for at least one year.

 

The program further requires both spouses:

 

  • were married in Canada or have an electronically-issued marriage certificate (not a scanned copy) from another country;

 

  • agree to the divorce (that’s kind of an important one);

 

  • are able and willing to sign Court documents;

 

  • swear that the documents are true in front of a notary public or commissioner for taking affidavits;

 

  • have already resolved any other family law matters, such as parenting, spousal support, or division of property, and;

 

  • not require (or request) a few waiver.

 

The cost for filing a Joint Divorce Application is $447.  If you don’t qualify for the online service, you may still file an application in-person at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. If you’re asking for child custody or access, you must file online in the pilot location where your children live.

 

There are a series of Forms and Documents required to be submitted with a Joint Divorce Application which are listed, explained and provided at: https://www.ontario.ca/page/file-joint-divorce-application-online. Briefly, in addition to providing a copy of your marriage certificate, you must apply to the Court for your divorce, and/or child custody or access – which further requires you to provide and complete certain financial statements/documents.

 

Perhaps the Ontario Government’s most important recommendation regarding Joint Divorce Applications is to SPEAK TO A LAWYER BEFORE YOU FILE! As you can see, these things can be tricky. We’re here to help.

 

Call us any time at 905-851-5909, or visit us at 3300 Hwy 7, Suite 904 in Vaughan, ON.

 

Tune in to the blog again next week for our take on the next big Family Law changes in Ontario!