One of the first questions I am asked as a lawyer is how to file for divorce. The answer is, it depends. Are you filing for an Uncontested Divorce or Contested Divorce?
An Uncontested Divorce, often referred to as a “Bench Order Divorce” or “Desk Order Divorce,” is commenced when all outstanding issues arising out of the marriage have been resolved and the only order sought is that of divorce. This type of filing for divorce is preferred as it is not adversarial, faster and a lot cheaper. In order to go through this divorce process all outstanding issues resulting from the marriage such as, child guardianship, child support, spousal support, property division etc. have to be dealt with prior to filing for divorce.
There are two types of Uncontested Divorce, namely, the Sole Application for Divorce and the Joint Application for Divorce. Each type involves filing forms with the Supreme Court Registry. The advantage with either method is that neither you nor your spouse will have to appear in front of a judge. The process of filing for an uncontested divorce starts with the filing of a court form entitled Notice of Family Claim. If it is a Sole Application for Divorce then the Notice of Family Claim will be served on the other party and if the party does not respond within 30 days then you may file for an order for divorce. In a Joint Application for Divorce you and your spouse both file and sign the Notice of Family Claim with accompanying forms seeking your divorce order. You will not have to wait the 30 days, however for a Joint Application you will need the cooperation of your spouse which is not necessary with the Sole Application for Divorce.
If issues arising out of your marriage have not been dealt with prior to filing for divorce you will be filing what is known as a contested application for divorce. The process for a contested application for divorce starts also with filing a Notice of Family Claim with the Supreme Court Registry and serving it on your spouse. The Notice of Family Claim will include orders you wish the court to provide such as child guardianship, support, property division etc.
With either an Uncontested or contested divorce you will generally have to be separated for one year before a divorce order is granted.
Should you have any questions on How to File for Divorce please feel free to contact me at 604-449-7779.