The cost of divorce in Ontario can be cheap or really expensive, depending on how complicated your case is. To give you an idea of how much you will likely spend for divorce in Ontario, we have here a rough breakdown of expenses.
When you walk down the aisle to marry the man/woman that you truly love, you surely didn’t think that you would end up getting a divorce one day.
There is no such thing as a perfect marriage – all married couples go through different kinds of challenges. Based on the information provided by Statistics Canada, the divorce rate for the last two decades ranges between 35% and 42%. As of 2018, 41% of married couples end up in divorce just before their 13th wedding anniversary.
So, what is the cost of divorce in Ontario?
One of the major considerations that you need to properly plan ahead before filing for a divorce is to determine whether or not your current financial situation can support all the expenses you’ll need to pay for the said legal process.
The cost of divorce in Ontario can be cheap or really expensive, depending on how complicated your case is or on different factors like whether you are having a simple, uncontested or contested divorce. The legal fees can easily hit the $10,000 mark even for simple cases that do not go to court. Divorce cases that go to court but do not go to trial can cost between $10,000 and $20,000. Divorce cases that go to court and go to trial can cost you approximately $50,000.
To give you an idea of how much you will likely spend for divorce in Ontario, here is a rough breakdown of expenses.
Basic Court Mandatory Fees
The court’s mandatory fees can amount to up to $447. Even if you have an uncontested divorce, you still have to pay the mandatory fees. A sum of $157 for the court fee needs to be paid upon filing the divorce papers. The Department of Justice will also collect a fee of $10 for the search registry. The remaining $280 must be paid before your case is reviewed by the court.
If you opt to get a divorce certificate, you will need to pay an additional $19. This will be on top of the $447 mandatory court fees, adding up to a total of $466. Please note, though, that the divorce certificate is purely optional. You will need to present a certificate of divorce along with the other requirements. It is best to secure the divorce certificate so you can have it all in one go.
Ottawa Divorce Lawyer’s Fees
Although the court does not require you to work with an Ottawa divorce lawyer, it is still better to hire one – especially if you have a contested divorce. You may need to extend your budget to cover the cost of the family lawyer, and this can be a bit financially challenging for some.
This in mind, plus the fact that the court allows you to represent yourself alone, make it quite tempting to cross out hiring a lawyer from the list. But, if you try to look at the bigger picture, you can actually save more by having a professional handle your divorce case – especially when it comes to issues concerning spousal support, child support, and division of assets and properties.
The fees for the lawyer may vary according to the price structure presented by the firm, but it can roughly include the following fee schedule plus 13% HST:
- Initial consultation – approximately $175.00
- Preparing for court session – approximately $450.00
- Reviewing financial statements- approximately $750.00
- Drafting court pleadings- approximately $250.00
- Uncontested divorce – approximately $950.00 plus disbursements
- Simple, joint divorce – approximately $400.00 or more
- Simple, sole/uncontested divorce – approximately $500.00 or more
For litigation and separation agreements fees, here are the rough estimates based on the average hourly rate of $250.00/hour plus 13% HST:
- Separation Agreements – approximately $3,000.00 to $4,500.00
- Litigation: Preparing an Application or Answer – approximately $1,750.00 to $2,500.00
- Litigation: Case Conference or Settlement Conference – approximately $1,250.00 to 1,750.00
- Litigation: Substantive Motions – approximately $4,000.00 to $5,500.00
The lawyer may also charge you a separate fee for phone calls, emails, and photocopies.
Other Fees Associated With the Cost of Divorce in Ontario
Apart from the mandatory court fees (and the cost for a family lawyer should you consider hiring one), you may need to pay other miscellaneous fees. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Joint divorce for you and your spouse who are residing outside Ontario: around $50 or more.
- Sole divorce with spouse residing outside Canada: fees start at $500.
- Divorce based on adultery- if you file a divorce based on your spouse’ adultery, you may be recommended to file the case once again after a full year and base the divorce in separation instead. An additional cost of $50 to $100 needs to be paid for this.
- Missing spouse divorce: This is when you file a divorce but don’t know where your spouse is. For this case, you may need to pay an additional $400 or more plus 13% HST for preparing and filing the motion material. This fee excludes the cost of applicable substitute services like newspaper advertisement.
- When filing for attendances, you have to pay around $56 for the court clerk services.
- Also, an estimated $64 has to be paid for the process server.
Each divorce case is unique in one way or another. In terms of charges and fees, not all of the above-mentioned are associated with the cost of divorce in Ontario. You may be charged additional fees not mentioned in this article as well.