Filing for divorce can be a detailed process depending on the nature of the circumstance, the amicability of each party towards reaching agreements, whether the couple has minor children, financial investments, and so on. People often have questions about what to expect during the process, how fast they can get divorced, and what happens to marital assets in the process.
To help answer these questions, we are going to cover a general overview of the divorce process. For more detailed steps in the process or unique situations, we recommend calling our Toronto family law firm to speak with one of our Toronto divorce lawyers directly.
Step 1: Hire a Toronto Divorce Lawyer
To ensure your divorce proceeds as best and as efficiently as possible with minimal delays and other issues, it is best to hire a qualified lawyer in Toronto to handle your divorce.
Step 2: File the Application for Divorce
Your lawyer will prepare and file the Application for divorce with the court. The other party will be served and given time to respond to the filing. You will then have a chance to provide a Reply to this Response. These are called Pleadings. Typically, once the pleadings are filed, a First Appearance date is scheduled by the Court. At this appearance date, barring any specific issues or circumstances of the case, an initial Case Conference date would then be scheduled.
Step 3: Filing of Motions
Motions can be filed at any time during the divorce proceeding, but only after a Case Conference has been held. For example, after filing your application for divorce, it is not uncommon to file a motion for temporary child support until the final child support agreement is reached. Motions to change existing orders can also be filed throughout the divorce proceeding. Urgent Motions are the only type of Motion that can be advanced before a Case Conference. However, throughout the divorce proceeding, Urgent Motions can be filed at any time. For Urgent Motions to proceed, a caselaw test needs to be met to determine urgency.
Step 4: Attend a MIP Session
Before attending your first Case Conference, most parties will attend a Mandatory Information Program. The MIP session educates the parties about the divorce process, family court, and other important information. It provides essential information as to what the court process will look like.
Step 5: Attend Your First Divorce Case Conference
This first hearing is merely administrative in context. The Master or Judge hearing the Conference will make procedural Orders in the matter before it proceeds to the next step. This Conference is really to ensure the parties and the court have all the necessary information in terms of position on issues, financial disclosure and other information as applicable to proceed.
Step 6: Schedule Settlement Conferences
There are various types of settlement agreements that must be reached and included in the final divorce agreement. Settlement Conferences are used to attempt to reach these agreements. It is the second typical step in the Court process after a Case Conference. Initially, the Conferences may only involve the two parties and their lawyers. If needed, a mediator or arbitrator can be used to help negotiate disputed matters and reach an agreement.
Step 7: Trial Management Conferences
These Conferences occur when the matter needs to proceed to trial. The purpose is to for the parties to meet with the judge, provide details about what evidence they will give, witnesses they will call, and so on. However, at this stage, there is still a possibility to settle the case or at the very least, narrow down the issues for trial.
Step 8: Divorce Trial
If offers to settle and mutually agreeable settlement agreements are not reached, then outstanding issues are litigated in court through trial. The judge will hear both parties and then make a final ruling on the outstanding matters. This final decision will culminate in a Final Order that can only be appealed or varied through the process of a Motion to Change.
Again, these steps are a general overview of the divorce process. Depending on your circumstances, you may not require every step. If you have further questions about the divorce process or to schedule a consultation with a divorce lawyer in Toronto, contact Davies Law Firm at (416) 363-0064 today, for the legal advice and guidance you need, to protect your interests.