IMPORTANT: Laws for divorce, separation and parenting have changed and include new parenting language and responsibilities. If you need to go to court, you must use updated family court forms. The information below is being updated and some content may be out of date. Learn more about the changes on the federal government web site.

Divorce and Separation

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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.

Getting Started

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 obligations
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 (parenting time and decision-making responsibility with respect to a child, support, property division and child protection) and referrals to community resources. Each FLIC 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
Family Law Information (Community Legal Education Ontario)
Information about many family law issues, including divorce, decision-making responsibility in respect to a child, support, and property division.
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.
Steps to Justice (Community Legal Education Ontario)
A website that gives reliable, step-by-step information about common legal problems, including family law issues. Visit the website for information about parenting time and decision-making responsibility, support, and property division, as well as going to court and resolving issues through alternative dispute resolution. Steps to Justice also has a live chat function to help users find the information they need.
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, parenting time and decision-making responsibility with respect to a child. Mediators, unlike judges or arbitrators, do not decide cases or impose settlements
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 Family Law
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.
How to get a copy of a Divorce Order, Certificate of Divorce or other court document
Court locations and addresses across Ontario

Completing Court Forms

Family court forms are available at:

Guided Pathways to Family Court Forms
If you need help completing your family court forms, you can use the Guided Pathways to Family Court Forms, a free online tool developed by Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) and the Ministry of the Attorney General. The tool asks you questions and puts your answers into the required court forms. When you’re finished, you can save or print your completed forms before filing them in-person at the courthouse or online using the Family Claims Online service.

You can also find more information about family law on CLEO’s Steps to Justice website.

Separation and children

Parenting time, decision-making responsibility and contact
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 decision-making responsibility, 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 may help
Supervised parenting time
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

Spousal support
Learn how claims for spousal support are addressed, including the advisory spousal support guidelines
Division of Property
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

More Resources