The Difference Between Joint and Simple Divorce Applications

This blog post will discuss the common terms and phrases one might see while going through divorce in Ontario. It will speak to the difference between joint and simple divorce applications, the difference between contested and uncontested divorces, and how you can begin the process if you are divorcing.

General Application for Divorce

To start your divorce or family law file, you and your spouse need to commence an application that discusses the issues you want the court to resolve. You must fill out a general application, Form 8, if you and your spouse disagree on how to resolve your family matters in relation to spousal support, child support, the sale of the matrimonial home, child custody and access, and other such matters. This form informs the court regarding the issues that are in contention.

You can also go ahead and complete Form 8A, an application for divorce. In Ontario, you can file for divorce using a joint or simple application.

A “Simple Divorce”

A simple divorce is when you ask the court for only a divorce and nothing else. The application does not ask the court to determine spousal support, child custody and access, child support, division of property and debts, pensions, or anything else. If you and your spouse want the court to deal with these matters you need to file for regular divorce, as discussed above.

General vs. simple divorce application

Simple Applications vs. Uncontested Divorces

In Ontario, an uncontested divorce occurs when neither spouse contests nor opposes the divorce. Be careful, a ‘simple divorce’ is not the same thing as an ‘uncontested divorce.’ In the case of a sole application for divorce, either party can ask the court for a divorce by filing the relevant paperwork, and “serving it” to the other spouse. This simply means that the paper work is presented to the receiving spouse, who becomes the respondent in the matter.

After the papers are filed the responding party has 30 days to challenge the divorce and make their own claims in regards to the details of the divorce. If the responding party is located outside of Canada or the USA, they have 60 days to contest the divorce. If the time frame passes without a response, the divorce proceeds as uncontested and will then be settled by the court. In summary, an application can start out as a simple application, which the responding party has an opportunity to contest if they do not agree with what has been written. Contesting the divorce can include but is not limited to disagreeing with the proposed spousal support, child support, or the division of property.

At Thistoo, it is our mission to simplify your uncontested divorce process by helping you manage the process, and keeping you organized. We have created a Plan section in our web-based application to assist you with asset division and calculating support payments. If you need further guidance on how to navigate this section, please refer to our How To: Plan for Divorce post.

Joint Divorce

You and your spouse can bring forth a joint application for divorce if neither of you is opposed to divorce. Both you and your spouse will sign the divorce papers, indicating to the court that you both want the divorce and there are no disagreements regarding the legal issues raised by your decision to divorce.

Simple Application vs. Joint Application

Choosing whether to file a simple or joint application for divorce depends on what is most convenient for you and your spouse. If you and your spouse can easily meet and are comfortable going to the courthouse together, it is best to proceed by way of joint application. Joint applications may be less convenient if you and your spouse do not live in the same city, though a joint application is not impossible in such circumstances. There are plenty of spouses who proceed by joint application despite coordination issues, because it makes sense for them to complete the paperwork together. Similarly, it makes sense for other parties to leave the paperwork to one party in the divorce. If both spouses are cooperative, the cost and the timing of the simple joint divorce and simple sole divorce are the same.

Simple vs. Joint divorce application

Uncontested vs. Contested divorces

Divorces can be very complicated, no doubt. This is especially true because there are competing interests, and multiple elements at stake for all the parties involved.  We, at Thistoo encourage you and your spouse to work together through this process. If you have children, remaining amicable throughout divorce will assist them in transitioning into their new living and family arrangement. Below, we have other blogs to help you with strengthening your communication skills among one another and with your children.

Contested vs Uncontested Divorce

Learn about how to negotiate with your spouse. Also learn how to tell your children you are getting a divorce. And if there is anything else we can do for you, please do not hesitate to set up a call with us, so that one of our representatives can further assist you.