Getting divorced is not always a simple process. People are often surprised when they find out all of the steps required to obtain a divorce. It is not just a question of getting a court date or showing up in front of the judge and you are done. Canadian laws require the divorcing couple to have been separated for a minimum of one year, with a few exceptions, before the court will finalize the divorce. However, there are usually other issues that need to be addressed, such as property division, support and custody of children.
The first step for commencing divorce proceedings is to consult with a divorce lawyer and obtain their assistance to submit an application for divorce with the proper court. You do not have to be already separated from your spouse to initiate a divorce. After the court issues your application, the other spouse is served with the documents.
Your spouse then has up to 30 days to respond to the application and provide his or her answer to the court. If they do not file a response within this time period, you have the right to request that an order be issued solely based upon your claims in the application and to prevent your spouse from providing any input. You may then obtain a “default judgment” or proceed to an “uncontested trial”.
If your spouse does file an answer, the court will then set a date for both parties to appear in front of a judge for a “case conference.” The judge will listen to both parties outline their positions, and will make recommendations as to the next steps, which may involve financial disclosure and settlement discussions.
After this appearance, either party can submit a temporary motion to the court and request a motion date. Temporary motions often involve seeking child and spousal support, child access and custody and property disclosure. After the motion hearing, the judge reviews evidence and makes a decision on whether or not to grant the relief requested. Costs are usually awarded to the successful party.
At this point, the divorcing couple may choose to work on reaching a settlement agreement on their own, with help from their lawyers, and, if necessary, utilizing mediation and arbitration processes. Otherwise, any outstanding issues are brought before a judge at a “settlement conference” to attempt to get the couple to come to an agreement without going to trial. Otherwise, the matter will go to trial and a judge will make a final ruling on the issues.
A divorce can be granted after the parties have been separated for a year. A final divorce order will be issued and the parties can obtain a certificate of divorce, which is required should a party wish to remarry in the future.
DISCLAIMER: The above information is for reference purposes only. For actual legal advice and further information about filing for divorce or other family law matters in Ottawa, contact Davies Law Firm at 613-688-0462 today for a no-obligation case consultation.