The cliché about divorce is that it must be an extended battle between two bitter spouses. Fortunately, this cliché has little basis in truth. Many spouses complete their divorces quickly, relatively amicably, and with minimum expense.
Ontario offers two forms of uncontested divorce for couples who agree on matters related to their property and children. Although the parties to an uncontested divorce usually do not have to appear in court, seeking professional legal advice is still important.
Our Ottawa uncontested divorce lawyers could advise a spouse about the legal requirements for divorce, protect their rights, and ensure the couple’s separation agreement adheres to legal standards. Working with an experienced legal professional such as Paul Riley helps a couple avoid mistakes that could delay or complicate an uncontested divorce.
The Divorce Act, s. 8(2), offers only three ways for spouses to prove the breakdown of their marriage: adultery, cruelty, and separation for at least one year. Proving adultery or cruelty requires the innocent spouse to present evidence of their partner’s misconduct, which would only occur in a contested divorce setting. If the couple wishes to obtain an uncontested divorce, they must live separately for at least one year before applying for a divorce.
Living separately does not necessarily mean separate households. If economic or other factors prevent a couple from maintaining two residences, they could establish their separation by showing they:
Any or all of these factors could be persuasive. An uncontested divorce lawyer in Ottawa could help a spouse who continues to occupy premises with their husband or wife compile proof that the couple is separated.
Ontario offers two forms of uncontested divorce—simple divorce and joint divorce. Both methods are best suited for couples who already have a signed separation agreement covering property division and equalization, parenting time, and parental responsibility. The separation agreement need not address child support, but the parties must execute an Affidavit affirming their adherence to the Child Support Guidelines.
In a simple divorce, one spouse files a Form 8A, Application for Divorce. The other spouse does not file an answer to the application. The court then reviews the documents the applicant submitted in support of their application and issues a final divorce decree.
In a joint divorce, the parties file an application for divorce jointly.
The most complex and critical aspect of an uncontested divorce is creating the separation agreement that will guide the parties after the court grants the divorce. Having a signed separation agreement before the applicant spouse files for divorce limits the respondent spouse from changing their mind and turning an uncontested divorce into a contested one.
A separation agreement must address, at a minimum:
Courts will scrutinize the separation agreement to ensure that parents considered the best interests of the children when deciding parenting time, parental responsibility, and child support.
Property division depends on the net family property and can be challenging to calculate. Similarly, issues related to the marital home can sometimes complicate the negotiations. Working with an Ottawa legal practitioner experienced in uncontested divorces can smooth negotiations and ensure a fair and legally sound agreement.
Even an amicable divorce involves legal complexities and emotional triggers. Working with a knowledgeable and well-practiced legal practitioner could help your divorce proceed as smoothly as possible and safeguard your rights throughout the process.
Protect yourself from unwelcome surprises by contacting an Ottawa uncontested divorce lawyer at The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm as soon as you begin seriously contemplating divorce. We are available anytime to answer questions and provide advice and support. Call today.
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