Q: I will be legally separated this Aug 1, 2018. The Separation Agreement is signed and there are no support payments of any kind. I have 20 years in the HOOP pension plan and my ex-husband has a similar plan with 18 years of contributions. The divorce will be uncontested since the children are all grown and on their own. How can I file for a quick, reasonably inexpensive, legal divorce? What are the steps and how long will it take to finalize?
—Jodi in Ontario
A: Jodi, in Ontario there are two steps to a legal divorce and separation agreement. From your question, you have completed the most difficult part of the process, that being the equalization of your property. This is done under provincial legislation.
The legal divorce decree is a Federal jurisdiction, and in Canada is granted one year from the separation date, with no need for ‘grounds.’ You may fill out and file the paperwork yourself, or you may decide to share the cost with your ex- and have one of your lawyers file the paperwork. There are also paralegals who are experienced in handling this type of paperwork.
I believe the timeline for filling this in is very quick as long as the year has passed. In most cases, we advise that a divorce not be filed until after a separation agreement is in place. The reason for this? Because once a divorce decree is granted, certain rights awarded under matrimonial law are no longer available. One example of this would be work-related health benefits. There are other matrimonial rights that are immediately negated and these should be discussed with your lawyer prior to applying for a divorce.
Having said this, either spouse can start the process, and the other spouse can not stop it, once the time restriction has passed.
MORE FROM A DIVORCE EXPERT:
- Meeting the financial requirements of marriage—during a separation
- I work harder than my ex. Why must I pay spousal support?
- This is why your separation agreement could be challenged
- Why you have to split work pensions when you divorce