Common Misconceptions about Simple Divorce in Ontario

Common Misconceptions about Simple Divorce in Ontario

Simple Divorce in Ontario

Divorce, a legal termination of a marital union, often comes with a host of misunderstandings and myths, especially regarding the simpler form in Ontario. A “simple divorce” in Ontario refers to an uncontested divorce where both parties agree on the dissolution of their marriage without disputes over issues such as property division, child custody, or spousal support. Designed to reduce the emotional and financial strain typically associated with divorce proceedings, a simple divorce aims for a more straightforward process. Despite the goal of simplicity, many misconceptions surround the journey of a simple divorce in Ontario.

Misconception 1: Simple Divorce is an instant

A common misunderstanding about simple divorce in Ontario centers on the belief that the process concludes immediately. However, contrary to popular assumption, simple divorce involves a specific timeline and various procedural steps.

The process initiates with the filing of divorce papers by one or both spouses, followed by a mandatory waiting period. Ontario law requires a minimum separation period of one year before finalizing a divorce. Such duration serves as a crucial phase for reflection and negotiation, enabling both parties to amicably resolve any outstanding issues.

Beyond the waiting period, additional procedural steps are necessary. Submission of various legal documents to the court, including the divorce application and supporting affidavits, is part of the process. The court reviews all documents to ensure they meet legal requirements and verify the absence of disputes that would disqualify the process from being classified as simple.

Once satisfied with the documentation and after the mandatory waiting period has passed, a judge will issue a divorce order. However, the divorce becomes final only 31 days after the order’s issuance, providing a window for any potential appeals or reconsiderations.

Hence, while simple divorce in Ontario is structured to be more straightforward than contested divorces, the perception of its immediacy is misleading.

Misconception 2: No Legal Documentation is required

Contrary to popular belief, legal documentation is essential in the process of a simple divorce in Ontario. Specific forms and paperwork are mandatory, including a divorce application, affidavits for divorce, and, in certain cases, financial statements.

Inaccuracies or incomplete information in the forms can lead to delays or even the dismissal of the application. Hence, attention to detail and adherence to legal requirements are paramount in ensuring a smooth divorce process.

Misconception 3: Simple Divorce Solves All Issues

A prevalent misunderstanding is that a simple divorce automatically resolves all matrimonial issues. In fact, a simple divorce only legally terminates the marriage and does not address separate matters such as property division, spousal support, and child custody.

Separate negotiations and legal processes are required for these issues. Property division, for instance, involves the equitable distribution of marital assets and debts, which can be complex depending on the financial situation of the couple.

Thus, while a simple divorce signifies the legal end of a marriage, it does not include the resolution of all related matters.

Misconception 4: Any Couple Can Opt for a Simple Divorce

Contrary to the belief that any couple can choose a simple divorce in Ontario, eligibility criteria must be met. A key requirement is the uncontested nature of the divorce, where both parties agree on the dissolution of the marriage without disputes over issues like property, spousal support, or child custody.

Several circumstances disqualify couples from a simple divorce. If unresolved disagreements about asset division, child support, or custody arrangements exist, a simple divorce becomes untenable. Also, if one party does not consent to the divorce or cannot be located, the process cannot proceed as a simple divorce.

Misconception 5: No Need for Legal Advice in a Simple Divorce

Many individuals believe that legal advice is unnecessary in a simple divorce due to its perceived straightforwardness. However, consultation with a legal professional remains critical, even in seemingly uncomplicated divorce cases.

Therefore, even in a simple divorce, seeking legal counsel is advisable to ensure smooth processing and adequate protection of individual interests.

Misconception 6: Simple Divorce is Always the Cheapest Option

Many believe that a simple divorce invariably costs less than other types. While often less expensive than contested divorces, a simple divorce still involves various expenses. Costs include court fees, legal document preparation, and sometimes legal consultation fees. Although the streamlined process can reduce legal fees, total elimination of costs is not a guarantee.

Comparing simple divorces with other divorce proceedings, the financial implications tend to be lower in simple cases due to the absence of extensive legal battles over assets, custody, or support. However, costs can vary based on individual case complexities and the necessity for legal assistance.

Misconception 7: Simple Divorce is Amicable by Default

There’s a common perception that a simple divorce equates to an amicable process by default. While the lack of major disputes indicates some level of agreement, simple divorces can still involve emotional and logistical complexities. Ending a marriage legally, even without contention, can be emotionally challenging for involved parties. Effective communication and cooperation are crucial in a simple divorce.

Misconception 8: The Outcome of Simple Divorce is Predictable

The assumption that the outcome of a simple divorce is predictable fails to consider the variability inherent in legal proceedings. In simple divorces, outcomes can differ based on individual circumstances. Influential factors include the marriage’s duration, financial situations of the parties involved, and any pre-filing agreements.

Even in uncontested cases, judges review submitted documents for legal compliance. As a result, outcomes in simple divorces, while seemingly straightforward, may still present elements of unpredictability due to these factors.


Misunderstandings about simple divorce in Ontario are prevalent, with several misconceptions influencing perceptions. Key misunderstandings clarified include the non-instantaneous nature of simple divorce, the necessity of legal documentation, the exclusion of certain issues like property and custody, eligibility requirements, the importance of legal advice, varying costs, potential emotional complexities, and unpredictable outcomes.

Author: SARA