The average cost of divorce in Ontario can range anywhere between $1,500 and more than $80,000, depending on the type of divorce and other factors.
You have to take into account application fees, lawyer fees, filing costs, and much more.
As a general rule, the more complex your case is, the higher the costs will be. So, if you are wondering how much does divorce cost in Ontario, you have come to the right place.
Let’s review in complete detail the factors affecting the cost of divorce in Ontario and what you can do to reduce these costs.
Average Cost of Divorce in Canada
Before we move on to the cost of divorce in Ontario, it is crucial to take into account the national average cost of a divorce in Canada.
People who choose family lawyers in Canada spend between $15,000 and $20,000 on average on divorce proceedings.
So, the average cost of divorce in Canada can run anywhere between $1,000 and over $20,000 based on the route you choose. An uncontested or simple divorce will always cost less because such cases are not too complex.
Now that you know the national average, let’s move on to understand how much does it cost to get a divorce in Ontario.
What is the Average Cost of Divorce in Ontario?
The average cost of divorce in Ontario can range anywhere between $1,500 to more than $80,000. It depends on the type of divorce you are going through.
We have broken down the average cost based on a simple (uncontested) or contested divorce. Let’s understand each in detail to get a better idea of the costs associated with the divorce:
How Much Does a Simple Divorce Cost in Ontario?
The average cost of divorce in Ontario is around $669 for a simple divorce without hiring a family lawyer. This is the court fees for all divorce applications in the region.
You can pay it in two installments or all at once, depending on what you want.
On the other hand, if you hire a lawyer, then the average divorce lawyer fees in Ontario is more than $700 for a simple or uncontested divorce.
So, all in all, a simple divorce will cost more than $1,500 on average.
How Much Does A Contested Divorce Cost in Ontario?
But, if you are going through a contested divorce, then the cost of divorce in Ontario will be thousands of dollars. Such cases are complex and take longer.
Divorce lawyer fees for cost can range anywhere between $5,000 and more than $40,000.
If your case goes to trial, it can cost you upwards of $80,000.
To understand the cost of contested divorce in Ontario, you will have to consult a family lawyer to provide you with better estimates, depending on your case.
Top 7 Factors that Affect Average Divorce Costs in Ontario
Many factors come into play when you are going through the divorce process in Ontario. To get a better picture of the costs, it is crucial to understand these factors.
We have broken them down into detail to provide you a clearer picture of the cost of divorce in Ontario:
1. The Type of Divorce
One of the top factors that affects the cost of divorce in Ontario is the type of divorce. There are different types of divorce routes you can take in the region.
Please note that annulment is different than divorce. You can read more about annulment vs. divorce on our blog.
You will find three main types of divorce applications in Ontario. These include the following:
- Simple or uncontested divorce
- Joint Uncontested divorce
- Divorce with contested relief
The cheapest way to get a divorce in Ontario include simple (uncontested divorce) and joint uncontested divorce. It is also the quickest way to get a divorce in Ontario.
Divorce with contested relief will take longer and cost more. So, the range of cost of divorce in Ontario can be anywhere between $1,500 to thousands of dollars because of the type of divorce you and your spouse are going through.
2. Divorce Lawyer Costs in Ontario
The cost for divorce lawyers in Ontario will also impact how much the divorce proceedings will cost. According to Canadian Legal Fees Survey of 2018:
- The average cost of divorce lawyers for a contested divorce can range between $7,500 and $10,000
- Every additional claim, such as creating custody and support agreements will also cost more
Every divorce lawyer fees is unique, but it’s important to understand averages to get a better idea of how much you can expect to pay.
The fees will also depend on the type of case you and your spouse are going through, which include the following:
Fees of Divorce Lawyers for Uncontested Divorce
On average, a divorce lawyer can charge anywhere between $300 and $1,300 for an uncontested divorce. If you and your spouse don’t share children or property, then this is a simpler process and a divorce lawyer will charge less.
We recommend you shortlist the best divorce lawyers in Ontario, and then check their fees for uncontested divorce.
Fees of Divorce Lawyers for Contested Cases
Contested divorce cases are highly complicated, and the lawyer has to sort complex issues, such as:
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Property division
- Child access
- And much more
The more matters the lawyer has to sort, the more they will charge. It is best to consult with a divorce attorney for such costs because they will assess your case first, then provide you with a fair quote.
Contested divorce lawyer fees can go up to thousands of dollars, so it is best to speak to an attorney for this purpose.
3. Divorce Mediation vs. Trial
The cost of divorce in Ontario will also depend on whether you are mediating the divorce or it goes to trial. If you opt for divorce mediation, then a mediator can charge anywhere between $100 and $500 per hour.
Every lawyer also has unique packages for mediation that will help you understand the costs better.
Trial costs are much more expensive, as they consume more of the attorney’s time and resources. According to the 2018 Legal Fees Survey:
- Lawyers charge between $12,000 and over $20,000 for a trial that lasts a maximum of two days
- And more than $23,000 if a trial lasts a maximum of five days
You can’t control whether your case goes to trial if the matter becomes complex. However, we recommend sticking to divorce mediation and see if you can sort out your issues through this route.
You can opt for a trial if you have exhausted all other options and you and your spouse still can’t reach an agreement on certain matters.
4. Child Support & Custody Agreements
While the lawyer will charge their hourly fees to handle your divorce case in Ontario, they will also charge extra for anything extra. These include child custody and support agreements.
You can expect to pay between $1,500 and $2,000 or more for a child custody and support agreement. Remember that the cost will vary, depending on the lawyer and their expertise.
5. Creating a Separation Agreement before a Divorce
Divorce is not just a spur-of-the-moment action. If you want a divorce in Ontario, you will have to fulfill the grounds for divorce.
One of the grounds of divorce in Ontario is separating from your spouse for a year before you apply to the court. During this time, we recommend couples to create a separation agreement to sort out their efforts.
You can learn more about what is included in a separation agreement on our blog. For separation agreements, a divorce attorney in Ontario will charge between $1,500 and $2,000 on average.
If you want a more accurate quote, you can get in touch with our law office to determine whether this falls under your budget.
6. Any Third-Party Fees
Yes, there are also some third-party fees you will have to take into account when considering the cost of divorce in Ontario.
These include court fees, documentation, and much more. Here are the top three third-party fees we have laid out for you to help you get a clearer picture of the costs:
- Affidavits: When serving your spouse with divorce papers, you will have to pay for the bailiff. The cost of this is regulated by Ontario, and your lawyer can take care of it on your behalf
- Court Filings Fees: The mandatory court filing fee for divorce in Ontario is $669
- Appraisal: Spouses that own property together will have to get it appraised to determine its market value. You will find people who specialize in appraisals for divorce. These individuals assess your home value on the date you separated
These costs can be a few hundred dollars, and if you are hiring a divorce lawyer, then they will include these costs in their total fees.
7. Costs after Divorce in Ontario
Marriage is complicated, and so is divorce. Even after your divorce, you have some responsibilities to your children and ex-spouse, such as support payments.
Here are some costs after divorce you can expect:
Child Support Payments
If you had children with your spouse, then you might have to pay for child support every month. These costs will support the upkeep of your children.
Remember that the amount of child support payments will depend on the custody arrangement you have with your spouse. Your divorce will help you organize these things during the divorce proceedings.
Spousal Support Payments
There are times when one spouse has to pay spousal support to the other, and these payments can exist for many years. Calculating the payment will depend on your case.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines serve as a starting point for the support payments. However, these provide a range for the duration and amount of the support.
In some cases, the family court may choose to adhere to these guidelines and may stray away from others.
We recommend you talk to your divorce attorney in Ontario, as they will give you a much better assessment of the spousal support payments you may have to pay.
Can you Waive Court Fees for Divorce in Ontario?
Not everyone has the means and resources to pay for an expensive divorce. The court recognizes this and has waived the court fees in some cases.
You can apply for the waiver of your court fees if the primary source of your household income comes from:
- Canada Pension Plan
- War Veterans Allowance
- Ontario Disability Support Program
- Ontario Works
- Old Age Security Pension and the Guaranteed Income Supplement
- Legal Aid Certificate
You can show any of these documents, and the court will waive their fees for the divorce.
How to Lower Ontario Divorce Cost: 6 Effective Tips
A contested divorce is incredibly complicated, and it can increase your cost of divorce in Ontario. If you are going through this type of divorce, then you will want to keep your divorce costs low.
Yes, this is possible with some conscious adjustments on your part. We have listed some expert tips to help lower your Ontario divorce cost:
1. Try to Reach an Agreement with Your Spouse
In Ontario, you have to fulfill a separation period of one year with your spouse. During this time, we recommend you talk to your spouse and try to reach an agreement on most things.
A separation agreement will help you make this happen. You can utilize it to settle matters such as:
- Property division
- Child custody
- Parenting responsibilities during separation and after divorce
- Spousal payments
- And much more
The more you reach an agreement on these matters, the easier your divorce proceedings will turn out to be. You can also talk to a lawyer and ask questions about separation to begin the divorce process on the right foot.
So, communicate with your spouse and try to reach an agreement to lower the cost of divorce in Ontario.
2. Identify the Areas of Disagreement
It is natural that you and your spouse don’t see eye to eye on some matters. We recommend you identify the areas of disagreement beforehand.
Once you have noted this down, we recommend you hire a professional to conduct divorce mediation. The mediation process will help you resolve issues on which you disagree.
Opting for mediation will save you thousands of dollars that will be spent if your case goes to trial because of disagreement on important matters.
3. Remain Organized
Divorce paperwork can become the bane of your existence if you don’t organize everything. You might lose documents, and would have to pay extra to apply again, which can increase your cost of divorce in Ontario.
On the other hand, your divorce lawyer fees can also increase if you don’t have the right documents, and the lawyer needs to keep asking for them.
We recommend you ask your lawyer to give you a list of every document you must provide. Once you have it, create a file of all of these documents and sort them based on the process.
Doing this will help you remain organized, and you will save time and the cost of divorce in Ontario.
4. Check if you Qualify for Legal Aid
If you don’t have a lot of resources or money to pay for the cost of divorce in Ontario, you can check if you qualify for legal aid. Legal aid can help you gain access to a divorce lawyer in Ontario who will not charge you an exorbitant amount.
You can then check the Legal Aid Ontario Website to determine how you can apply for legal aid. You can apply online, by phone, or in person.
After your application, the department will get back to you to let you know whether you qualify or not. If you do, you will save a lot of money on the cost of divorce in Ontario.
5. Decide Which Battles are Worth Fighting
The more issues you and your spouse disagree on, the higher your cost of divorce in Ontario will be. Because of this, it is important to pick your battles and decide what issues are worth fighting for.
For example, it is best to let the issue of who will get the better car or material possessions go. Instead, the making good parenting arrangements and the custody of your children is something worth fighting for and racking up a lawyer bill.
So, let the smaller issues go and focus your perspective on things that matter in the long run. As the issues decrease, you will have fewer things to fight over, which will automatically lower your cost of divorce in Ontario.
6. Try to Opt for Uncontested Divorce
If you follow the tips we have stated above, then you and your spouse will reach an agreement during the separation period.
When this happens, we recommend you file for an uncontested divorce. This is much cheaper and quicker.
You can even file for a divorce in Ontario without a lawyer and take part in the process yourself. So, it is a good practice to sort your issues and focus on an uncontested divorce to ensure a lower divorce cost.
What is the cheapest way to get a divorce in Ontario?
The cheapest way to get a divorce in Ontario is to opt for an uncontested divorce. You and your spouse can file the paperwork together, and you might not even need a lawyer for this type of divorce at all.
Do you have to pay for divorce in Ontario?
Yes, even for a simple divorce, the fee is over $200. For a contested divorce, the fee is higher. So, regardless of how you take the divorce and the type of divorce, there are some costs associated with it.
How long does it take to get a divorce in Ontario?
A simple divorce can take three to six months, while a contested divorce can take a year or more. The timeline will depend on your case, and your lawyer will provide you with a better idea of the time it will take for you to get a divorce from your spouse.
Is divorce 50/50 in Ontario?
As a general rule in Ontario, each spouse will keep the value of what they brought into the marriage and the assets accumulated over the course of the marriage will divided 50/50. However, the matrimonial home can be an exception to this rule.
That was everything you needed to know about the cost of divorce in Ontario. There are many factors that affect this cost, and you can follow various methods to lower the cost if you wish.
While it may sound expensive to hire a divorce lawyer, they can help you save money during the divorce proceedings. If you need any help with your case, you can always get in touch with us for your divorce case needs.
- Athena Narsingh is a trusted and knowledgeable lawyer in Scarborough. Her expertise spans real estate law, family law, adoptions and fertility law. A lawyer by profession and a humanitarian by heart, Athena Narsingh wants to help people become more familiar with the legal system and be well-informed to make important legal decisions.
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