How long does a divorce in Ontario take?

5 tips to help you navigate your divorce

How long does a divorce in Ontario take?

The answer is, it depends on the couple and whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.


 What is a Contested Divorce?  


A contested divorce occurs when partners disagree on some, or all, of the divorce issues such as division of assets, child support, parenting schedules, etc. These types of separations usually end up in court, with a judge having to make decisions for the parties. These divorces usually take anywhere from 1 year to several years to finalize. Due to the current backlog of family court cases as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the average length of time for a case to go through the family courts is much longer than it was before the pandemic.


 What is an Uncontested Divorce?


An uncontested divorce happens when partners agree on the key issues and have signed a separation agreement. Even if the parties don’t agree on all of the issues of their separation, a skilled and trained mediator can help couples to reach a resolution on the issues in disagreement. Once all key issues have been settled through a separation agreement, the timeline to finalize an uncontested divorce is typically 4-6 months.


Once an order for divorce has been issued, It takes a minimum of 31 days for the divorce to take effect.


It is important to note that:

  • a couple needs to be separated for at least 1 year (unless there is adultery or cruelty involved)
  • the courts will most likely reject your request for a divorce if reasonable parenting                  arrangements and child support have not been adequately addressed. 


Mediation can work for both types of divorce as long as each partner is committed to the process. If you and your partner have decided to separate but disagree on some key issues, mediation can help you overcome obstacles and reach a separation agreement faster and at a fraction of the cost of hiring divorce attorneys. 

Schedule your free 20 minute exploratory session to find out if mediation is right for your situation. 



About the Author

With almost 20 years in the social services field, Jennifer Curry has seen the overwhelming stress and strain of divorce on Ontario families. She founded South Simcoe Family Mediation Services to offer a healthy alternative—one where couples can separate and move forward amicably from the comfort of their homes. If you and your partner have decided to separate, reach out to schedule a free exploratory session.