Do it yourself divorces have been on the rise in recent years. In fact, according to the Department of Justice, surveys of judges, lawyers and other FJS professionals indicate that they believe the number of self-represented divorces has increased over the last five years, estimating that between 50% and 80% of parties to civil/family actions are self-represented.
What is DIY Divorce?
DIY Divorce, as the name implies, is the process of filing for your own divorce, these are individuals who complete the divorce process without being represented by a lawyer, or seeking professional legal advice.
Should I do it myself?
DIY divorce can save you thousands of dollars, but it could also cost you time and money in the end if you decide you do in fact need professional legal advice. People wishing to complete a DIY Divorce should make sure that:
1. It is an amicable divorce
This is extremely important, self-representing in a divorce heavily relies on the fact that you and your spouse are having an amicable divorce. Meaning you and your spouse both have agreed to divorce, and are willing to work together to file for the divorce.
2. You and your partner want the same outcome
Like the amicable divorce condition, you also must be willing to agree on the projected outcome of your divorce. This includes factors such as custody arrangements, child and spousal support payments, and asset division. For example, you both must be able to come to agreements when it comes to the division or liquidation of your matrimonial home. Due to the fact that there will be nobody representing you to work out the details of your divorce, it’s important that you are able to work collaboratively with your soon to be ex.
3. You know a little bit about the legal process
Knowledge of the legal process is a must for DIY Divorce. Although you do not need to be an expert in the field, knowing some facts about how the divorce process generally works will be extremely helpful when it comes to filing on your own divorce. There are many resources you can use to help make the process of filing for divorce much easier. Our blog post on the steps for filing for divorce in Ontario outlines most of the information you need to know about the process.
DIY Divorce Options and Prices
There are many paths you can take when starting the process of divorce. It is important to remember that each and every couples divorce needs are unique, and divorce cannot be treated as a one size fits all matter. When it comes to the cost of all types of divorce including divorce with a lawyer, you can check out our blog post here for some more information.
1. No Assistance
We like to call this the true do it yourself divorce. Couples choosing to divorce completely on their own will be most successful with a clear understanding of the legal process for divorce, and are on the same page for all terms of their divorce.
As stated on the Government of Ontario website, the average cost to file for divorce on your own in Ontario is $447. The first payment of $167 is due when the application for divorce is filed which includes court fees of $157 and $10 that is collected for the federal Department of Justice. Additional court fees of $280 are paid before the divorce is reviewed by the court.
2. Using an Online Resource:
Self Representing with the use of an online resource can be extremely beneficial for couples who agree on the terms and desired outcome of their divorce, but are unsure of the legal process and need some help determining things such as asset division, support and most importantly filing out the divorce forms. Many online divorce resources, such as Thistoo, make divorce easier by walking the user through separation and divorce step-by-step and providing all of the documents needed for couples to divorce on their own.
Thistoo can be especially helpful in guiding you through the process without expensive legal fees. The cost of an average divorce using Thistoo is $683.99 including court fees.
Mediation can often be complimented with both forms of self-representation mentioned above. Mediation is a great alternative to using litigation for solving divorce conflicts. Mediation is the settlement of a dispute between spouses through a neutral party or intermediary, that is not a judge and does not require going to court, unlike litigation. It promotes mutually agreed upon decisions and is very common in uncontested and amicable divorces.
Mediation is also a cost effective way to hire a professional to deal with your dispute and come to a conclusion. The price of mediation sessions can vary from $0 to $200 per hour.
As you can see, DIY Divorce options can be dramatically different based on the path you choose to follow. However, although one option may be cheaper than the other it is extremely important to consider your own personal circumstances, and the decision that will best fit your needs.