1. A joint application is brought by both spouses jointly, and must be on consent of both parties. A joint application may deal with claims in addition to divorce, as long as both parties consent to all claims.    
  2. To begin the process you must wait a minimum of one year from the initial date of separation.  The separation date is defined as the date on which the decision to divorce was finalized, even if both parties remained in the same residence.
  3. Check that you are bringing the application to the correct court.  In most parts of Ontario this would be at the Family Court in the municipality where you or your children live.
  4. Your original marriage certificate must be filed with the court, either at step #8 or step #13.  If you do not have your marriage certificate, you can order one from the government of the province where you were married. (for information call toll-free 1-800-461-2156).
  5. All joint applicants must pick up and fill in the following forms:
    • A Divorce Application (Form 8A)
    • A Registration of Divorce Proceeding Form 
    • An Affidavit for Divorce (Form 36)
    • A Divorce Order (Form 25A)
  6. Other forms required if you and your spouse have agreed upon support claims:
    • If a claim for support but not for property or exclusive possession of the matrimonial home is made you BOTH need: A Financial Statement (Support Claims) – (Form 13)
    • If a claim is made for property or exclusive possession of the matrimonial home and its contents, whether or not there is also a claim for support, you BOTH need: A Financial Statement (Property and Support Claims) – (Form 13.1)
    • If you cannot easily obtain your income tax returns and notice of assessments for the past 3 years then you BOTH also need:  A Direction to Canada Customs and Revenue Agency – (Form 13A)
    • A Support Deduction Order Information Form – (Form SDOIF)
    • A Support Deduction Order (SDO) 
    • If there is a claim in relation to property you need: A Net Family Property Statement – (Form 13B)
    • If you have had previous family court files you need: A Summary of Court Cases – (Form 8E)
  7. Whenever a party applies for a divorce anywhere in Canada, the Central Registry of Divorce proceedings at the federal Department of Justice must be notified. This is done when you complete a form variously referred to as the Federal Divorce Registry Form or Registration of Divorce Proceeding Form (5b above). This is not a court form but is available, as are all other divorce forms, at the court office or online through the Ministry of the Attorney General at www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca.  
  8. Fill in and submit the form referred to in 5b, above.  You must then wait about 8 to 10 weeks for Ottawa to respond.  They will send a Clearance Certificate to the court office.  It will NOT be sent to your home.  You are responsible for contacting the court to determine whether it has been received, since the court will not contact you.
  9. Once you have received the Clearance Certificate you can proceed with submitting the remaining forms.  Fill in the forms carefully, including all requested information.  Assistance can be found online at www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca or at the help desk at your local family court.
  10. Get a Court File Number.  This needs to be done in person at the court office.  If possible, do this visit together so that any errors in completing forms can be corrected quickly, signed and submitted without making any return visits. 
  11. Put the court file number in the upper right-hand corner of every page of all the forms.
  12. Make copies of the forms as follows:
    • 2 (two) copies of your completed Application – (Form 8A) including any attachments
    • 2 (two) copies of your completed Affidavit for Divorce – (Form 36) including any attachments
    • 5 (five) copies of your completed draft Divorce Order – (Form 25A)
  13. Submit to the court clerk:
    • The applicable fees (in our case: $280.00).  
    • All required documents, filled in and signed, with the Court File Number written on the top right corner
    • Two self-addressed envelopes with sufficient postage, one addressed to you and one to your ex-spouse 
  14. Your file will be sent to a judge to be reviewed.  If satisfied, he or she will grant you a Divorce Order, which will be sent to your home in the envelope you provided in 13c.  This will take another 4 to 6 weeks. If the judge needs more information in order to grant the Divorce Order, the court office will contact you. The Divorce Order is NOT sufficient proof of divorce.  Hold on.  You’re almost there.
  15. When you have received the Divorce Order you must wait 31 days from the Date Of Order, which date you will find stamped on the front page.  
  16. After 31 days have passed you are eligible to apply for a Certificate of Divorce – (Form 36B).  You can pick it up by applying in person at the court office.  This is the document that must be presented in future (for example if you are about to remarry) as proof that the divorce has been granted. 

Take a deep breath.  Nobody claimed that divorce was for the faint of heart!  If you found this list of procedures intimidating, just be thankful you have chosen the non-adversarial route, the one with a green light over the exit sign.