March 1, 2019
New tools online can help you to do a basic divorce in Ontario all by yourself.
The Ontario provincial government has been working really hard to make simple Divorce court cases easier for you to do. They now have available forms that you can complete online through their website called cleo.on.ca. If you want to do a divorce and your spouse wants to do the divorce as well – they’ve made it really easy to do. CLEO will lead you to a site they have called Steps To Justice, and that’s where you get Divorce forms.
To use this, you and your wife or husband must agree to do the divorce. Then it’s a joint divorce. If you are the only one who wants it yourself and the other person does not, it’s called a Simple Divorce. Their site can show you the forms to do either way- and it’s free. Yes, free. Alright, your tax dollars have paid for it, but they don’t charge you. As of the date of this article, it’s only set up for people who want a divorce by themselves or a joint divorce and everything is agreed. In law world, we call that “on consent”.
If you want to ask for child support, spousal support or how to divide your assets (house, car, etc) and the other person -your spouse- does not agree, you cannot use their pathway system right now. If you both agree on those issues, meaning you both agree on support issues and how to settle your assets, their forms will work for you.
For it to work, you must have been married to the other person. Common law relationships are a different matter entirely for assets, and you just cannot divorce if you were never married. Lots of folks believe that being common law is similar to being married, but it’s not. A few other things that must be in place are: you have lived in Ontario for the past year, and you have been separated for at least one year. If you live in B.C. stop reading this, it’s not going to help you. Divorce is done through the province where you live. Check your provincial government websites for help to prevent a nasty headache for yourself if you don’t live in Ontario.
Being law and a court, there are other bits of paperwork needed. It’s the nature of the beast – forms and paperwork.
It helps to get the paperwork all organized before you start with the forms. What you need are your original marriage certificate or a certified copy of it. What is a certified copy? One that comes from the government that married you. In Ontario, that means you have to contact Service Ontario.ca and order one online. Thankfully that currently costs less than $30. You also need copies of any Separation Agreement you have done or any earlier court orders that were done in your case. The forms ask for details on you and your spouse’s date of birth, full names, any children’s names and dates of birth as well as any earlier or previous divorce dates. Lots of information to gather, but once you’ve got that all together, it makes it much easier on yourself to complete the forms.
Their program then wants you to set up an account to make it easier on yourself to go back in and remember your details. Don’t forget to put a strong password on it to keep anyone else out with a name similar to yours.
And then there’s a price tag. That’s no surprise. A divorce will cost you about $500. That’s not them charging you for the forms, that’s the cost that anyone has to pay when they issue and file the documents in court.
Keep in mind, even though they make the forms easy to do, they cannot and will not give you legal advice. For that, you need to talk to a lawyer.
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