Simple or Joint Divorce in Ontario

Simple and joint divorce are two types of uncontested divorce in Ontario where the parties are able to reach an agreement on all issues related to the divorce, such as child custody, support or division of assets. Uncontested divorce is generally more straightforward and efficient than contested divorce as the parties agree on all issues and do not require the court to intervene and resolve any issues.

Simple vs Joint Divorce

In a simple divorce, one party files for divorce asking the court for a divorce only, and the other party is served with the application and does not contest it. In this application, the applicant cannot seek orders on spousal support, child support, decision-making responsibility, parenting time, or a division of property. Therefore, a simple divorce is a direct and cost-effective option for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues related to divorce.

In a joint divorce, both parties file for divorce together in a joint application with the court . This option can be faster and more efficient as it avoids the time having the respondent party respond to a simple divorce application. It is preferred by couples who want a fairly efficient and affordable route to getting a divorce, but couples must also be in agreement about the terms surrounding division of property, applicable child or spousal support, parenting responsibilities and child custody.

The main difference between simple and joint divorce is in the process of filing an application. Simple divorce requires one party to file for divorce and serve it on the other party, and the other party either agrees with the contents of the application or does file a response in. Joint divorce involves both parties filing for divorce together. Both types are uncontested and require the parties to cooperate and reach an agreement from the outset.

Requirements for Filing a Divorce

There are certain requirements that a couple must meet before becoming eligible for a divorce.

You must be legally married; an original marriage certificate or certified copy of your marriage certificate is required in the divorce application. You or your ex must have lived in Ontario for at least on year prior to the filing of divorce. You and your spouse must have been separated for at least one year. Other two grounds for divorce are adultery or cruelty during the marriage and it is recommended you speak with a lawyer to discuss the details and confirm whether you are eligible for a divorce.   

If you are filing for an uncontested divorce, you should ensure that your ex will not only agree to the divorce but also if applicable, reach an agreement regarding the division of property, spousal and child support, and child custody and access in a written separation agreement. If there are children and issues pertaining to children are unresolved, such as decision-making responsibility, parenting time, and amount of child support, the court may not grant a divorce. Thus it is crucial to be in agreement from the outset.

It is important to note that the separation criteria requires a minimum of one-year separation period; however, it is not necessary that you and your ex live in separate and apart in different properties. You can be legally separated and still live in the same house, but must live “separate and apart” if under the same roof.

In determining if a couple is actually living “separate and apart” under the same roof, the court will consider the following factors:

  • whether the parties continue a sexual relationship
  • whether the parties have separate bedrooms
  • whether the parties continue to attend social activities together and prepare and eat meals as a couple
  • whether a party has made plans for their asset as a separated spouse
  • whether there are any changes in performing household chores
  • whether there are continued communication regarding family problems and accommodating one another’s schedules
  • whether there are any factors that may speak to a party’s true intent rather than the stated intent

Let Us Help

Having a family lawyer to assist you in the divorce process will ensure the accuracy of all required documentation for filing and to provide insight on your rights and options. Even if you are going through uncontested divorce, we still recommend working with a family lawyer to make sure the process is not dragged for longer than it needs to be.

Contact us at or 416-477-5686 to schedule for a consultation!