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Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

A contested divorce in GTA is a divorce where you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of your separation.

Some of the issues include: 

  1. Decision making; 
  2. Parenting time; 
  3. Child support; 
  4. Spousal support; or 
  5. The division of property. 

The terms of your separation can be negotiated, with the assistance of counsel, without judicial intervention; however, sometimes certain disputes require resolution by Court. 

In order for a contested divorce to be granted in Ontario, you and/or your spouse must have been ordinarily resident in Ontario for at least one year. One of the following grounds must also be established:

  1. That that you and your spouse have been living separate and apart for at least one year (this includes living under the same roof with no possibility of reconciliation); 
  2. Either you or your spouse committed adultery; and 
  3. Either partner performed some sport of mental or physical cruelty on the other partner. 

Understanding Divorce in Ontario

An uncontested divorce, also known as a “simple divorce”, is a divorce granted without having to appear in front of a judge. Instead, your Application for a divorce is dealt with at the judge’s desk. 

An uncontested divorce is a type of divorce where there are no issues in dispute between the married couple. Meaning, there are no outstanding matters that may exist for the Court to decide. It is generally a functional formality of ending a legal marriage. This type of divorce is generally a more affordable divorce option. The only way of divorcing that can be considered more amicable is a joint divorce. 

The advantages of an uncontested divorce, or a “simple divorce”, include:

  1. Cost – family lawyers in Etobicoke generally bill fees based on the time spent to resolve issues stemming from a separation. An uncontested divorce can be considerably less expensive than a contested divorce as there are no issues to be resolved. With this kind of divorce, we know how much time will be spent on average and can set a flat rate fee to complete the divorce for you. 

Although uncontested divorces are less costly than contested divorces, there may be some extra work involved depending on the case at hand. For instance, if children are involved and there is no separation agreement in place that speaks to the issue of child support, extra work will be required to satisfy the court that the children’s financial needs are met. The Court will not grant your divorce unless it is satisfied that all support obligations are being met in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines

  1. Time – while simple divorces sit on a judge’s desk for a few weeks, sometimes months, for review, it is a much quicker process than a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, you may have to attend several conferences, bring interim motions and ultimately end up in a full on trial. You will be required to work around the Court schedules, the parties’ schedules and the schedules of two divorce lawyers in Etobicoke. Uncontested divorces avoid this issue entirely, which saves you time and energy. 
  2. Children – whenever couples can reach agreements amicably without having to go through lawyers and involve Courts, they tend to have better relationships. The lack of conflict between the parties will make this process easier on the children involved. 

Having said that, although we certainly do not advocate for creating disputes between you and your partner, it is extremely important for you to know your rights (and obligations) before making the decision to proceed with an uncontested divorce. 

Call us now to learn about our flat rate fees for uncontested divorce in Etobicoke.

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