How to Prepare an Uncontested Divorce by Simple Application

This How-To Brief outlines the steps to take to obtain a divorce when the matter is undisputed or not defended.

1Review of legislation

  • Review Rules 5, 8, and 36 of the Family Law Rules.
  • Review the Divorce Act.

2Determine where to start proceedings

  • Rule 5(1)(a) & (b) of the Family Law Rules: Case is started in the municipality where a party has resided for at least one year (section 3(1) of the Divorce Act), or the municipality where the child(ren) reside(s) if you are seeking custody or access.
  • Include the current address for each party.

3Prepare documents

  • Application for Divorce (three copies): Form 8A (see also link to Sample Document 1 in the Resources section of this How-To Brief).
    • Ensure names of parties in title of proceedings match the names on the marriage certificate
  • Affidavit of Service: Form 6B (see also link to Sample Document 2 in the Resources section of this How-To Brief).
  • (See the link to the above-listed Family Law Rules forms in the Resources section of this How-To Brief)

4Issue the Application

  • Bring the completed forms to the court office:
    • Three copies of Application
    • Marriage certificate or marriage registration certificate, if available (In Ontario, order from the Office of the Registrar General in Thunder Bay. For information call 1-800-461-2156, or in Toronto call: (416) 325-8305), or order online website
    • Cheque, cash or money order payable to the Minister of Finance (please check with local court office to confirm the filing fees)
  • The court office staff will:
    • assign the case a court file number
    • place a court seal on the Application
    • provide a Registration of Divorce Proceeding form to fill out:
      • This document is sent to the federal Department of Justice to determine if the same parties have registered any other divorce applications.
      • If there are no other applications for divorce pending between these parties, then the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings will issue a Clearance Certificate.
  • Note: The Application cannot be set down and the divorce cannot be granted until the Clearance Certificate has been received by the court.

5Serve the Application

  • A copy of the issued Application must be served on all responding parties named in the Application, along with any attachments.
  • Check Rule 6 of the Family Law Rules to determine how the party can be served.
  • Special service (rule 6(3)): personal service on the Respondent or service on the Respondent's lawyer - complete Affidavit of Service, Form 6B (see also link to Sample Document 2 in the Resources section of this How-To Brief).
  • Service can also be effected by mailing documents to the Respondent, with an Acknowledgement of Service, Form 6 (see also link to Sample Document 3 in the Resources section of this How-To Brief) and a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  • (See the link to the above-listed Family Law Rules forms in the Resources section of this How-To Brief)

6Filing the documents to obtain the Divorce Order

  • If no Answer to the Application has been served or filed with the court within 30 days of the service of the Application on the Respondent (60 days if served outside of Canada or the United States), then the matter can proceed and the documents can be filed to obtain a divorce order.
  • Bring the following completed forms to the court office:
    • Affidavit for Divorce (append any Minutes of Settlement or Separation Agreement if applicable), Form 36 (see also link to Sample Document 4 in the Resources section of this How-To Brief)
      • Child support arrangements should be properly described so as to ensure conformity with the Child Support Guidelines
      • Attach as an exhibit any prior court order or domestic contract as evidence of corollary relief, if applicable
    • Four copies of the draft Divorce Order, Form 25A (see also link to Sample Document 5 in the Resources section of this How-To Brief).
    • Note: If the draft Divorce Order is to contain a support order, then an extra copy of the draft Divorce Order is required to be filed with the Family Responsibility Office (see link in Resources section of this How-To Brief).
    • Note: Two copies of the Support Deduction Order and the Deduction Order Information Form will also be needed if the draft Divorce Order is to contain a support order.
    • Copy of Application
    • Affidavit of Service or Acknowledgement of Service
    • Marriage certificate or marriage registration certificate, if not already filed - if impractical to obtain, include reasons why in the Affidavit for Divorce
    • Stamped envelope addressed to each party
    • Cash or cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance (please check with local court office to confirm the fees for filing)
    • (See the link to the above-listed Family Law Rules forms in the Resources section of this How-To Brief)

7Obtain the Divorce Order and Certificate of Divorce

  • The court will issue the Divorce Order and send it to the parties in the stamped envelopes.
  • The Divorce Order will take effect on the 31st day after the date the Divorce Order was granted.
  • Obtain the Certificate of Divorce as proof that the divorce is effective as of a particular date: Certificate of Divorce, Form 36B (see also link to Sample Document 6 in the Resources section of this How-To Brief).
  • To obtain the Certificate of Divorce, you can either attend at the court office with a copy of the Divorce Order and a draft Certificate of Divorce, or send documents with cheque or money order by mail (include a self-addressed envelope for return).
  • Cash, cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance (check with local court office to confirm the fees for filing).
  • Court staff will check the file to ensure the 31-day period has passed and that there is no appeal of the Divorce Order.
  • (See the link to the above-listed Family Law Rules forms in the Resources section of this How-To Brief)

Tips on avoiding rejection of documents

  • Ensure grounds for divorce are met, i.e., 12 months have elapsed since date of separation.
  • Start the proceedings in the correct jurisdiction. Court staff will refuse to issue documents if you start in the wrong place.
  • Before the divorce can be granted, the Clearance Certificate must be in the court file.
  • Explain and correct any errors made in the Application in the Affidavit for Divorce.
  • If the draft Divorce Order contains a provision for support, ensure that the Support Deduction Orders are filed and there is an extra copy of the draft Divorce Order.
  • Ensure that the court file number is correctly filled out on the upper, right-hand corner of every page of all documents.
  • Make extra copies of all completed forms.

Resources

Statutes and Rules