Separation agreements and court orders can resolve some family
matters when you separate but they do not legally end your
marriage. The only way to legally end your marriage is to get a
divorce. The following links will help you find more information
about divorce law and procedure.
New: Applications for divorce under the federal Civil Marriage Act for non-residents married in Ontario now accepted at SCJ family counters. Learn more
- What You Should
Know about Family Law in Ontario (available in 9 languages)
- Covers many aspects of divorce and separation, including
mediation, choosing a lawyer, going to court, your rights and
- Family Law Information Centres (FLICs)
- An area in each family courthouse where you can receive
free information about divorce, separation and related family
law issues (child custody, access, support, property division
and child protection) and referrals to community resources.
has a variety of publications available addressing these
issues, as well as guides to court procedures. Staff and Advice
Lawyers are also available at designated hours
- Getting Divorced (Community Legal Education Ontario)
- A brochure that provides information about legally ending a marriage in Ontario.
- Resource List
- Extensive list of books and websites for adults and children covering separation and divorce, parenting, emotional and financial issues. Includes age appropriate reading suggestions and interactive websites.
- Your Legal Rights (Community Legal Education Ontario)
- A website with practical, easy to find legal information on a variety of topics.
- Family Law Information Program (Legal Aid Ontario)
- Legal and practical information on family law topics in an easy to follow format.
- Helping Children Cope with Separation and Divorce (Canadian Paediatric Society)
- Information on how to help your children at the time of separation.
Settling out of court
Using a lawyer
- The mediator, a neutral third party, can help you reach an
agreement on a variety of issues, including support payments,
the division of property, and child custody and access.
Mediators, unlike judges or arbitrators, do not decide cases or
- Arbitrators, like mediators, are neutral third parties.
However, unlike mediation, parties who wish to arbitrate must
agree to be bound by the decision made by the arbitrator
- Collaborative lawyers assist parties in negotiating a
resolution of their dispute(s) in a principled and respectful
fashion without going to court. Both parties and their lawyers
sign a contract committing to this process in advance
Going to court
If you and your spouse cannot agree on how to resolve your
family law issues, you can go to court and ask a judge to decide
for you. If you are married, you will need to apply to a court to
obtain a divorce order in order to end your marriage
- Understanding the family court system in Ontario
- Guide to Procedures in Family Court
- This guide provides steps to follow when going to court, including which forms must be completed, procedures when attending court and how to take steps in court cases.
- Completing Court Forms
- Family court forms are available at: www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/english/family
- You can also visit the Ministry’s Forms Assistant for help completing the most common family court forms.
- How to get a copy of a Divorce
Order, Certificate of Divorce or other court document
Court locations and addresses across Ontario
Separation and children
- Custody and access
- When you separate or divorce, you must arrange for the care
of your children. This includes where they will live and how
important decisions about them will be made
- Child support
- Both parents have a responsibility to financially support
their children. If you do not have custody, the amount of child
support you must pay is based on your income and the number of
children you must support
- Caring for children
- Looking after children during or after a separation can be
difficult. Here are some links to information that
- Supervised access to
- Where there are concerns for the safety of the children
and/or a parent, a court can require that visits with children
be supervised. The parents can also agree upon supervised
visits without a court order
- Child Protection
- When concerns are raised about a family's ability to care
for a child, a child protection agency may take steps to
investigate the care the child is receiving and potentially to
remove a child from his or her home
Other Financial Issues
- Learn how claims for spousal support are addressed,
including the advisory spousal support guidelines
- Division of
- How property, including the home where you and your spouse
live, is divided when a marriage ends, including a description
of the equalization of net family property rules