Common Sense Divorce

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Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To:

The Uncontested Divorce

Financially Smart Divorce

For more than 25 years you have witnessed Gail Vaz-Oxlade's trademark straight-up money wisdom, both on Radio and Television, most notably as host of TVs Till Debt Do Us Part, Princess and Money Moron. Gail is a best-selling Canadian financial author.

Gail Vaz-Oxlade's Guide To

The Uncontested Divorce

Financially Smart Divorce

How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Ontario

So I was chatting with a friend about two weeks a go when he shared a horror story with me. He was helping a friend of his whose partner had recently died.

It was sad. Even sadder: it turns out that gentleman had never formally separated from or formally file for a divorce decree from his previous partner so when he died, his assets were still technically (at least in part) her assets, including the home he was living in with his newest love (who was a pregnant stay-at-home mom to a two-year-old).

The end result, current love-of-his life got next to nothing while previous not-yet-ex-wife walked away with a bundle of money, despite them not having lived together for five years. Oy!

There’s a lot of this going around: people who end their marriages informally but don’t take the steps to formalize their independence from their ex’s. Geeze? Do they think they’re going to get back together again? What’s with holding on (or not letting go) of the past?

If you think taking the steps to formalize the ending of your marriage are too hard or too expensive, they’re not nearly as hard or expensive as doing nothing can be.

The easiest and least expensive option is an uncontested divorce.  While the average cost of a traditional court contested separation in Canada is almost $24,000, an uncontested divorce comes with a fraction of that price-tag (usually between $630 and $1600 depending on how much of the running around the court houses you want to do.) 

Remember in Ontario you don’t need “cause” as you did in the old days. As long as no one is going to make a claim for support, parenting orders/decision-making and asset splitting, you can make a simple application.

Family Mediation in Smooth Rock Ontario

The Unofficial Rules of Divorce:

  1. Divorce gets prickly, even in the most amicable situation
  2. It’s often less about the legalities and more about the money
  3. People make expensive mistakes because they don’t make a plan
  4. Before you do anything, understand your rights, obligations & complexities
Family Mediation in Smooth Rock Ontario

The Unofficial Rules of Divorce:

  1. Divorce gets prickly, even in the most amicable situation
  2. It’s often less about the legalities and more about the money
  3. People make expensive mistakes because they don’t make a plan
  4. Before you do anything, understand your rights, obligations & complexities

What Does An Uncontested Divorce Mean?

AN Uncontested Divorce Means Nothing’s Contested

People get confused though.  Do I need a Divorce Decree, a divorce certificate, file for an Uncontested Divorce or create a Separation Agreement?

Your Uncontested Divorce means there is nothing left to contest.  It means all of the stuff (money, house, debts) have been properly and legally divided.  It also means that you have dealt with things like where the children will live, child and spousal support, the house, the mortgage and the pensions. 

If you haven’t properly dealt with these, then your divorce is not uncontested and an uncontested divorce will likely not work for you. You will deal with those issues either through the courts or on your own.  If you deal with it on your own, you will create a Separation Agreement that addresses everything. 

A Separation Agreement is the legal contract between you and your soon-to-be-ex (STBX) for how everything is dealt with now and long into the future. Yes they will likely still be involved in your life somehow… especially is your share children.   Here is the separation and divorce process in a nutshell:

STEP 1: Decide on your date of Separation
STEP 2: Properly divide your matrimonial stuff (assets and debts)
STEP 3: Have it all written down in a proper Separation Agreement
STEP 4: Apply for your Uncontested Divorce
STEP 5: Receive Your Divorce Decree

How Do I Formally Get Divorced In Ontario?

That doesn’t mean you have to give up all claims if you want to get an uncontested divorce. If there are going to be claims for support or the splitting of assets, you’ll simply have to use a different approach…  (think mediation!)

If you and your ex can get together long enough to file together, you can not only make the whole process easier by making a joint application, you can split the costs!

An uncontested divorce won’t work for you if:

  • If you haven’t created and formally signed your Separation Agreement (this is different than divorce)
  • You haven’t been able to resolve your financial issues with your soon-to-be-ex (STBX)
  • You expect the courts to step in and make the call on the division of assets, support or parenting orders/decision-making claims
  • If you don’t know the exact address that your STBX lives at
  • If  you’ve been separated for a really long time, since there are time lines within which you have to operate if you’re making any kinds of claims, as opposed to just untying the knot.

For Goodness Sake, Do it the Right Way!

Still not convinced? Hey, take a lesson from Niall and Nancy. Niall was tired of being married to Nancy so he just upped and left. He came home one night, packed a suitcase and left her a note to say he was done and the marriage was over. Damn! When he did, their home was worth $227,000.

A year and a half later Nancy finally got with the program and sold their “family” home for $198,000. But since the value of the home at the time of Niall’s departure (which was their legal separation date) was $227,000, he was entitled to half that amount or $113,500.

By not signing a separation agreement or filing for your uncontested divorce and getting the debts on the table lickety-split, it meant that Nancy owed Niall $113,500 of the $198,000 the house sold for (less the expenses involved in selling the house). She walked away with just $89,000, which came as a little bit of a shock to Nancy.

If you or someone you know has separated and has still not formalized the end of their marriage, it’s time. Now.

3 Ways We Can Help You RIGHT NOW

Separation Plan

A personalized Report for your situation. Understand what’s involved with support, debts, banks accounts, pensions and your home BEFORE you start any legal processes.

Recorded Message

Not everyone is ready to talk with someone in person. You can call The Common Sense Divorce any time and listen to a pre-recorded two-minute message about our services.

Phone Consultation

Speak with us about the divorce process in Ontario and how The Common Sense Divorce can help. Schedule a free telephone assessment and consultation.

What If My Name Is Not On The Title of The House?

It doesn’t matter whose name the title is in, nor does it matter if it was owned by either of you before you married.  If this is the home that you and your spouse have been living in, it is likely to be considered the matrimonial home and it will be divided between you.

Divorce & The Matrimonial Home: Buying, Selling & Mortgages

The rule of thumb – the matrimonial house is going to be sold.  Sold to you, sold to your spouse or sold to a third party.  The implications of each are very different.

If you are considering either of the first two options, the key is determining whether it’s viable for either of you to stay in the family home. There are three main questions: Can either of you actually afford to keep the home? Can that person qualify for a mortgage on their own?  And, how will keeping the home affect that person’s financial future?

Remember, if you are planning to buy out your spouse, you will have to assume the whole existing mortgage as well as pay out your ex’s share of the home’s equity. Most people live in homes that require two incomes, so trying to maintain the home on half as much income after divorce is just not realistic for everyone. 

If you are planning to sell the matrimonial home, it’s really important that you and your spouse are on the same page to best take advantage of the market.  This is not the time for potential buyers to smell a divorce deal in the air.  As well, remember that your real estate lawyer will need a signed Separation Agreement in place before they can divide the proceeds of the sale of your home.  Without that Agreement, your funds will sit in trust until there is an Agreement that tells the lawyer exactly how to divide up the assets.

If you are planning to buy a new home post-divorce, here’s one simple piece of advice that is worth it’s weight in diamond studded, solid gold bricks.  DO NOT BUY another house until after your Separation Agreement is signed and in place.  You are going to need that Separation Agreement in order to qualify for your new mortgage and there is nothing that will put you in a bad negotiation situation like having to sign because your mortgage lender needs you to have it in place by next Friday in order for your new house to close.

The Common Sense Divorce has a full team of Realtors, Mortgage Brokers and Home Appraisers that are specially trained to deal with divorce.  They understand the divorce process and they know how to package a deal that works in your best interests. 

Are You Entitled To Share The Matrimonial Home?

Learn more about how the matrimonial home is dealt with in Ontario Separation Agreements.