A simple divorce is also known as an uncontested divorce, which is when you and your ex agree to divorce.
This is different from a contested divorce, which is when you and your ex do not agree to all the issues raised by the divorce. This could include disagreements about child custody or support or how you will divide your assets.
With a simple divorce, there is an option to file for divorce online and not go to court. To find out if this option is right for you, please visit the Ontario government’s file a divorce application online page.
Before you start
- Do you have your original marriage certificate? If not, and you were married in Ontario, you can order it online. If you were married outside of Ontario, you will have to get your marriage certificate from the government that issued it.
- Does your marriage certificate need to be translated? If your marriage certificate isn’t in English or French, you may need a certified translation. In Ontario, this means that a translator has to have a Canadian Translators and Interpreters Council certificate and also be a member of the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario.
- Have you been separated for at least one year?
- Have you (or your ex) mainly lived in Ontario for at least one year?
Starting your simple divorce
Complete the following documents
- A continuing record cover sheet
- This is the first page of your family law court file, which is called the continuing record. It will contain every document that you and your ex want the court to look at and it is kept at the courthouse.
- Your divorce will happen through the municipality that you live in.
- At this point, you do not need a court file number because one will be assigned to you at court.
- You are the applicant and your ex is the respondent.
- A table of contents
- This is a list that needs to be updated to include every form and document that you add to your court file.
- Your first listed document is the application.
- Enter the date you sign the document and the date you attend court to file the application there.
- Form 8A: Application (for simple divorce)
- Complete the relevant sections. Because you are only asking for a divorce, not all of the sections will apply to you. Remember: you and your ex must have lived separate and apart for at least one year.
- Sign and date the form. Your ex does not need to sign the document.
- Important: make a copy of the signed and dated application.
Note: There is a fee of $224 to start a simple divorce. This fee can be paid by cash, cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance. If you can’t afford to pay for this court fee, you can ask the court to waive your fees so you don’t have to pay. You can do this by completing a Fee Waiver Request Form.
File your documents at court
- Go to the Superior Court of Justice in the area that you live. You can find the courthouse in your municipality by visiting the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website.
- Take a number from the counter and wait until it is called. When your number is called, give all your documents to the court clerk.
- You will be given a copy of the application and, if you’re approved for one, a fee waiver certificate. Make sure you keep this in a safe place.
Serving your documents
Serving your documents means giving a copy of all the documents to your ex, who is known as the respondent.
This will include:
- A copy of your issued application
- A blank Form 10: Answer
You cannot serve these documents. You must have someone who is at least 18 years old—this could be a friend or family member or a professional server—hand deliver a copy to your ex.
For more information, please visit our serving documents page.
Proof the documents were served
Whoever serves the documents will have to complete:
This form needs to be signed in front of a notary or a commissioner for taking affidavits. There is a fee for this service which varies commissioner. If you need help finding a commissioner or notary to do this service, ask the court clerk for help.
Make sure you come to the commissioner with ID and the unsigned document.
Your ex doesn’t need to sign anything.
Form 6B needs to be filed in your continuing record at the courthouse.
Finalizing your simple divorce
Your ex has 30 days to respond from the day they’ve been served documents. Your ex, however, doesn’t have to file an answer or sign anything. After the 30 days have passed, you can finalize your divorce.
Complete the following documents
- Form 36A: Certificate of Clerk (Divorce)
- This is a checklist of the clerk. Fill in what you can and the clerk will fill out the rest.
- Form 36: Affidavit for Divorce
- Attach your original marriage certificate.
- The information on this form should match the information in your issued application.
- Take some ID and the unsigned form to be signed in front of a notary or a commissioner for taking affidavits. There is a fee of $21 for this service. If you need help finding a commissioner or notary to do this service, ask the court clerk for help.
- Form 25A: Divorce Order
- This is a draft of the divorce order. This is what the judge has to sign.
- Make three copies of this because one will be kept in your court file, another will be mailed to you and the third copy will be mailed to your ex.
File your documents at court
- Bring a self-addressed stamped envelope for you and your ex so that the divorce orders can be mailed to you.
- Go to the same Superior Court of Justice courthouse that you originally went to and bring all the documents and the envelopes with you.
- Take a number from the counter and wait until it is called. When your number is called, give all your documents to the court clerk. Nothing will be returned to you.
Note: There is a fee of $445 before the divorce is reviewed by the court. Court fees may be paid by cash, cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance. If you are unable to pay the court fees, you may qualify for a fee waiver.
When are you divorced?
Once you get your divorce order in the mail, your divorce takes effect on the 31st day after the divorced is signed by the judge.
After this, you can go back to the Superior Court of Justice and ask for your original marriage certificate and/or a certificate of divorce. There is a $25 fee for the certificate of divorce. You will need this certificate of divorce if you want to remarry.
- Steps to Justice: How do I apply for a divorce by myself?
- Steps to Justice: How do I apply for a divorce with my partner?
- Serving documents
- Ministry of the Attorney General: Having your court fees waived
- Steps to Justice: I lost my marriage certificate. How do I get another one?
Family legal issues
Do you want to separate from your partner? Need to decide decision-making responsibility, support or parenting time/contact? Contacted by Children’s Aid?