What is an uncontested divorce?

A simple divorce in Ontario is a type of divorce that is filed in the Superior Court of Justice. The Applicant in this case files a claim for divorce only, with no other claims being made such as child support, custody or access of children, or property division. When the applicant files for the divorce, and serves the Respondent (the other party to the marriage), the Respondent has a set time to respond to the divorce claim. This time frame is 30 days if the Respondent lives within Canada or United States, or 60 days if the Respondent lives abroad. If the Respondent does not file an Answer in court within the time limit, the divorce is considered to be an uncontested divorce in Ontario.

Who can file an uncontested divorce?

Either party to a marriage can file for a simple divorce, which may turn into an uncontested divorce in Ontario. They can file the divorce on one of three potential grounds. The first, and most common ground for divorce filings in Ontario is separation. The Applicant files for divorce based on a twelve month separation period. Although the divorce can be filed before the parties are separated for twelve months, the court will not finalize the divorce until the 12 month separation period has lapsed.

The second ground for an uncontested divorce is Adultery. If the Applicant is using this ground to file a divorce, they do not need to wait for the twelve month separation period. The divorce can be filed immediately and the court will likely require the Applicant to submit evidence in support of their claim that their ex-partner committed adultery.

The final ground to file for a simple divorce is cruelty. An Applicant filing a divorce based on cruelty will likely have to submit strong evidence in support this claim. While not used often, this ground can be an important way for some individuals to file and complete their uncontested divorce in Ontario.