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Who Pays For The Costs Of A Divorce In Ontario?

If you and your spouse are going through a simple divorce (or a not so simple one), you may be asking yourself who will pay the costs of getting a divorce?  Even if your separation is messy and complicated or even possibly going through the courts, the actual process of officially getting divorced can usually be separated out of any outstanding contentious legal issues (such as custody and support).  The divorce procedure can be dealt with fairly quickly.  So, you want to get divorced and you are wondering who will pay?  The answer as in most answers in law is that it depends.  It depends on numerous facts that will be unique to each case.  Generally speaking however, a separation agreement outlines who will bear the costs of the divorce proceeding.   You many not have or need a separation agreement or your case may be very litigious.  However, the process of actually getting divorced is highly procedural and can be separated from all other family/legal matters.  All it takes to get divorced in Canada is one of the spouses saying they want out and having been separated for a year (with no cohabitation back together of more than 90 days within that 1 year period).  So it’s not something that one can argue and say, “well I don’t want to be divorced” (if the other spouse wants it).  Too bad for the spouse that wants to stay married – divorce is unilateral which means, all it takes is for one spouse to want out, and that’s it.  So if the costs of divorce are specified in a separation agreement, I have usually seen that the costs will be split 50/50.  Or I have also seen in many cases that it has been negotiated in a separation agreement and one of the spouses, usually the breadwinner, will pay the costs.  I have also seen that in some cases, one of the spouses is in no rush to get a divorce when the other spouse is (say that have a wedding planned with their new spouse (which I have seen many many times)).  In such a case, the spouse who wants the divorce processed asap will usually just pay for the costs of the divorce themselves without waiting for the other spouse to agree to pay for half of it.  Also, by paying the whole fees in a situation where the other spouse is being cagy, the paying spouse does not allow him/herself to be taken advantage of by the other spouse who may be playing games by delaying or wanting to negotiate the payment of the divorce in the hopes of getting other concessions in the case.  So who pays for a divorce really depends on you, your own personal situation, your ex-spouses’ attitude and the level of acrimony in the separation. If you would like information about divorce, please call Avi Baratz at 905-789-9007, or email at avi@baratzlaw.com. 

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