When Ontario couples consider ending their marriages, one of the important aspects to address will likely be the cost. Their choice of contested or uncontested divorce will determine how expensive or inexpensive the process will be. Although the province has no law that says each spouse must have a legal representative to handle a divorce, such guidance can help to keep costs down.
If both spouses agree to all the terms of the separation, an uncontested divorce is possible. These include division of assets and debts, other financial issues, matters related to child custody, visitation and parenting plans and more. Failing to agree on all items will disallow an uncontested divorce filing. However, they will have to comply with the separation period before proceeding with the filing as required by the province. Apart from presenting the settlement agreement to the court, there will be no other court fees, making this an affordable option.
Although it is possible to navigate a litigated or contested divorce without legal counsel, it will be significantly more challenging than an uncontested divorce. The most contentious issues in litigated divorces typically include property division and matters relating to the children. A comprehensive knowledge of the statutes of the province is necessary for any spouse who wants to handle his or her own divorce in court.
Whichever way is chosen, it makes good sense to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer who can explain the required legal proceedings under Ontario laws. The attorney can arrange divorce mediation, when appropriate, to help couples negotiate their settlement agreements prior to filing for an uncontested divorce. Even with professional guidance and support, an uncontested divorce will be significantly less costly than a litigated one. Source: FindLaw Canada, “Divorcing without using a lawyer“, Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on April 5, 2017