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How Long Does It Take to Get Divorce in Canada?

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In Canada, the Federal Divorce Act governs the overall divorce process. Yet, the complete procedure and steps can vary from one province to another. So, divorce process timings can vary greatly as well.

How long does it take to get a divorce in Canada? It may seem that the process is taking forever to finish. But in reality, it is possible to estimate a period during which the divorce process might continue. Although the overall time varies from case to case, it is possible to predict.

This article will look into the length of divorce in Canada. You will get a brief idea of the overall process. And eventually, you will be able to estimate how long a divorce can take in Canada.

A General Overview of Divorce

The first thing you should know is what divorce is. Divorce means legally dissolute a marriage. The Canadian Divorce Act oversees the complete divorce process and decides the criteria.

A typical divorce criterion is having proper grounds for divorce. In addition, you and your spouse need to be in a lawfully recognized marriage in Canada. If you meet at least these two criteria, you can file a divorce case to the court.

The fault might not matter

The Canadian government has recently imposed a law regarding divorce. This law indicates and brings a new section called “no-fault divorce.”

According to the new law, it is not necessary to show who was at fault for the divorce. Both parties involved do not have to point fingers at one another. They can just go ahead with the marriage when they seem suitable.

The exception of one-year separation period

So, do you get an automatic divorce after a long separation in Canada? No, you don’t. The one-year separation period is particularly true for filing a “no-fault divorce.”

To seek a no-fault divorce in many jurisdictions, including Canada, you must live apart from your spouse for a year or more.

What if your partner has abused you physically or mentally? The one-year waiting period is not applicable. This means that if your spouse has committed adultery, you do not have to wait a year.

The Timeline to Get a Divorce in Canada

Divorce is the legal definition for the dissolution of a marriage. That implies you’ll have to go through the judicial system to get your divorce finalized. It also implies that you must adhere to certain rules and regulations to obtain a divorce.

But what about the divorce timeline? Well, it depends on several factors. Also, it takes different times for a contested divorce to complete the divorce process.

On the other hand, it takes much less time to complete an uncontested divorce in Canada. We can differentiate the timing from the following discussion:

Divorce certificate

While filing for an uncontested divorce, you need to wait for 1 to 2 months to get the clearing certificate issued by the Central Registry of Divorce in Ottawa.

If applications with similar names have been submitted in another province, or if the marriage certificate name differs from the name on the divorce application, the clearance certificate may get delayed.

Divorce hearing

When the applicant receives the divorce clearance certificate or has not responded within 30 days of service, the applicant must schedule a divorce hearing. The court registrar would then forward the file to a divorce Judge for a hearing, which may take 4 to 8 weeks to complete.

Document or evidence presentation

If a simple, uncontested divorce is filed, service of the divorce application is required. If the other party is approachable and cooperative, the process server should serve the documents and submit the original affidavit of service in roughly 1 to 3 weeks.

If the respondent is uncooperative, the service of documents may be delayed. In light of the circumstances, it may be necessary to submit a motion for substitute service, which might add another 4 to 8 weeks to the process.

If the respondent were served within one month of the divorce petition, they would have 30 days to file an answer if served within Canada and 60 days if served outside Canada.

Divorce certificate

After receiving a divorce order, you must wait 30 days from the date of the divorce order to acquire a divorce certificate from the court. After 30 days, the divorce would be finalized.

Does It Matter Whose Fault It Was?

There is something known as a “no-fault divorce” in Canadian law. You don’t have to prove that your spouse did something wrong to dissolve the marriage with a no-fault divorce.

What If We Want to Work It Out?

Let’s imagine you and your partner want to get back together. You have 90 days (either before or after filing for divorce) to try to work things out under the divorce law.

What if the attempt at reconciliation fails? Don’t worry, the 90-day waiting time isn’t included in the year-long waiting period.

What is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a legally enforceable document that establishes the rules of living apart between spouses. Separation agreements allow couples power over property and debt distribution, child custody, and spousal maintenance, among other things. The written and willingly signed choices will most likely be included in the divorce judgment.

Why is Divorce Process Longer?

Divorce processes might take anywhere from four to six months to complete. This is due to a lack of agreement between the two parties on property distribution, child custody, and spousal or child support.

The longer you and your ex-spouse fight about those concerns, the longer the divorce will take to finalize. You’ll not only be legally wed to your spouse, but you’ll also spend a lot of time and money trying to dissolve the marriage.

What Makes a Divorce Process Take Longer?

You might be looking for an answer to how fast you can get a divorce in Canada. Divorce processes might often take more than four to six months to complete. This is due to the inability of the two parties to reach an agreement on topics such as property division, child custody and access, and spousal or child support.

The more you and your ex-spouse disagree on those points, the longer it will take to finalize the divorce. Not only will you remain legally married to your spouse, but you will also spend a significant amount of time and money dissolving the marriage.


Now you know the average marriage length in Canada. It is on the decline in Canada. Like the opposite of marriage length, divorce length can be much higher.

The best thing to do in this situation is to call the cops. After that, your first step would be to seek legal support to take you through the complex process.

It would be best to have a divorce lawyer who prioritizes your needs over your financial gain. Divorce lawyers educated in mediation and other forms of dispute resolution can assist you and your ex-spouse in reaching an agreement that fulfills everyone’s needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to get a divorce in Canada?

The average cost of divorce in Canada is $1,353 for an uncontested divorce and $12,875 for a contentious divorce, according to the Canadian Legal Fees Survey. It's possible that taking your divorce to Court will cost you more than $50,000.

What is the first step in getting a divorce in Canada?

The first step in getting a divorce is to be in a marriage. Before finalizing anything, it is best to talk to your spouse and clear out simple discussions. If things go well, you might not have to spend extra money and time on court proceedings.

Is it easy to get a divorce in Canada?

In general, only Canadian residents are allowed to divorce in Canada. The Divorce Act of Canada prohibits you and your spouse from getting a divorce if neither of you lives in Canada.

What is a wife entitled to in divorce in Canada?

After separation, one spouse may be required to provide spousal support to the other spouse for financial support. It's also known as 'alimony' or 'maintenance'. Spousal support is often given monthly, although it can also be paid in one single sum.

How long does the divorce process take?

When things like custody hearings and property division are taken into account, a straightforward divorce can be concluded in 4 to 6 months; however, disputed and complex divorces that require judicial action can take longer.

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