What's the cheapest divorce cost in Ontario?
There are essentially two types of divorce in Ontario. That may sound like an oversimplification, but it’s true: whatever the specific circumstances of a divorce, it can either be cheap or expensive. It’s that simple. The distinguishing factor between the two comes down to whether or not there is a fight over the settlement. A contested divorce is costly in terms of time, money, emotion and energy. In a situation where the two spouses agree on everything from parenting, to property division to support, then the divorce process can be relatively inexpensive and painless. Whichever kind of divorce you are facing, you can reduce the costs by doing it yourself. Even an acrimonious split can be handled with a DIY divorce. All you need is a little knowledge of the process and all the right forms. SplitEasy can provide you with both. A DIY divorce, with a bit of help from SplitEasy, is the cheapest one possible. In this article, we will give you all you need to know about easy, inexpensive, lawyer-free divorce. No matter how hard divorce is, the process doesn’t have to be.
Deciding if a DIY divorce is right for you
You and your spouse have decided to part ways. What are the circumstances surrounding your split? Are you arguing over every aspect of your divorce, child custody, marital property, support, or have you reached an amicable agreement? If you have, then a DIY divorce may be for you. What do you need to know as you start the process?
Let’s look at the pros of an uncontested divorce. Aside from being able to reach a settlement with dignity and little to no aggravation, you can also reduce the cost of your divorce significantly. The lower cost is the most obvious advantage, but there is more to it than that. If you keep the conflict to a minimum the process can be more cooperative and private, which will work to your advantage in the long run. You can also keep your money and other assets to yourselves, rather than having to share parts of them out among all the professionals who would be involved in a full divorce proceeding.
On the other hand, if there is an imbalance of power in the marriage, a lack of agreement or an uneven playing field, then an uncontested divorce will not work. If, prior to deciding to file for divorce, the relationship has already reached high levels of conflict, then you should seek the advice of family lawyers. Without legal assistance, either one or both of the parties will be less likely to make concessions and reach a settlement. One spouse may actually be at a disadvantage and need a lawyer’s help to get what they feel they deserve. When the situation is this contentious, it has to be entrusted to the legal system for a final decision and settlement.
The best way to know if you can make your divorce easy and cheap, and keep the lawyers out of it, is to look at the way the two of you relate to each other. If you are both ready to make concessions and agree on terms that suit both of you, then you can probably manage a DIY divorce.
Even though it is much easier to opt for a DIY divorce if it is uncontested, it is possible to go this route even if there is conflict. You can have all the necessary paperwork drawn up to serve to your spouse and assist you in presenting your case in court, and SplitEasy will give you clear instructions on how to proceed.
If you and your spouse have talked everything through and have decided to keep your divorce between the two of you, then you begin the process of creating a divorce agreement. Here are some tips to help you draw up, sign and file your settlement:
- Know what you need: as the two of you discuss your settlement, both of you must remember that there is a difference between what you need and what you is are legally entitled to receive.
- Stipulate the details of financial support: Once you have agreed on the details of child support and spousal support, be sure to outline these details in the final settlement. Remember that Ontario law does not mandate an end date for child support, so if you want to cease child support payments when your children have reached a certain age, state this in the agreement as well. With regard to spousal support, set the conditions under which it will be terminated, for example, remarriage, etc. The two of you may be agreeing on everything now, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be disputes later on, so make sure that your agreement is as complete and specific as possible.
- Create a parenting schedule: An uncontested divorce may mean that you and your spouse are sharing custody of your children. You still need to specify the details of how parenting duties and visitation times will be split. You may think you can work this out as you go along, but it seldom works out that way, and it is better for the children that you establish a structure from the start. Agree on a schedule and include it in the settlement.
- Gather all the necessary documents: You may be making an amicable agreement without lawyers, but you must remember that you are still drawing up a legal document. Have all supporting documents to hand for easy reference. These could include your marriage certificate, birth certificates, property deeds, a prenuptial agreement, salary slips, tax returns, mortgage agreements, etc.
- Try to maintain your objectivity: It may seem difficult at times, as divorce is a very personal and emotional process, but it is crucial that both of you keep an objective outlook and aim for the best possible result for you and your children.
- Purchase tailored divorce forms from SplitEasy: To make the process easier, get customized, personalized paperwork from SplitEasy. We’ll explain the procedure below.
What are the five stages of divorce?
SplitEasy can help you make your divorce procedure cheaper and more manageable, but there are no shortcuts or simpler alternatives for the actual process of breaking up a long-term relationship. Filing your papers is the easy part - the real challenge is in the mourning the connection that has come to an end, and moving on. Getting through a divorce is a process that happens in five stages. Most psychologists agree that going through divorce triggers a grieving process very much like what we experience after the death of a loved one. We go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Aside from its similarities to other bereavement processes, divorce progresses through five unique stages of its own:
- Cognitive separation: This usually happens quite a while before you decide to divorce, and after a long period of frustration in your relationship. Cognitive separation is the setting of intention, the acceptance that action is necessary.
- Physical separation: Sometime after cognitive separation has occurred, one or both partners will voice the decision to separate. At this stage, one partner will move out - or even just move temporarily to a separate room - and discussions about legal divorce will start. There may be some back and forth and intermittent reunions at this stage before the emotional divorce takes place.
- Legal separation: The actual legal procedure, that we know as divorce, happens at this stage. The duration and nature of the divorce proceedings depends, to a large extent, on the way the two partners feel about each other. Legal separation can be the quickest, easiest part of the separation or it can be long, drawn out and painful, sometimes even extending beyond the last two stages.
- Emotional separation: At this point, the emotional ties that had existed between the two partners are finally cut. These connections include the original bond of love that drove you into union with one another, as well as the more acrimonious feelings that developed just before and during the divorce. As these ties break, a mourning process will naturally set in. This is a necessary part of working through the separation and healing after its ending.
- Spiritual connection: Some psychologists refer to another level of connection, even more profound than the emotional one. A spiritual connection may actually continue after all other bonds have been broken. Once the messy emotional bonds have been broken and the wounds have healed, there no longer any strong feelings - positive or negative - for the other person, but the sense of having shared a life with that person remains. The term ‘spiritual’ may raise some objections among modern readers. You may want to think of this stage as equivalent to acceptance in the five stages of grief. It is the point where you accept the separation. In the best-case scenario, a friendship might remain after the marital bonds are severed. At the very least, after a particularly unpleasant divorce, the two of you may call a lifelong truce and feel a sense of closure.
The five stages of divorce may be difficult, but SplitEasy’s four-step procedure to complete your divorce forms is not:
- Step 1: Find out what kind of divorce forms you need.
- Step 2: Buy the divorce forms and provide us with the information we need prepare them.
- Step 3: Wait for us to email the divorce forms to you, which we will do within three working days.
- Step 4: Follow the instructions to serve and file your divorce forms.
Preparing for divorce proceedings
Having made the decision to divorce on your own, the next step is to acquire all the paperwork. You may have decided to forgo legal counsel, but you will still need a little assistance with your divorce forms on how to serve and file them. SplitEasy aims to provide personalized documents and offer the assistance you need to make it as painless as possible.
SplitEasy makes divorce easy, convenient and cheap. You can eliminate the frustration of preparing complex forms on your own. We take your order, prepare your divorce forms and deliver them to you, together with instructions on your next steps. You save thousands of dollars.
Start by visiting our website and clicking on either In-Court or Out-of-Court, depending on which kind of divorce form you need. We will prompt you from there.
Don’t get buried in fees. Only pay for the divorce forms you need. SplitEasy is a do-it-yourself platform to help you save money, avoid inconvenience, and simplify the process to give you the easiest and lowest cost of divorce in Ontario. Contact us if you have any questions.