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How much does a divorce cost?

Although there is no hard statistical data yet, lawyers specializing in family law have reported an increase in calls to initiate separations and divorce during the COVID-19 pandemic. But how much does a divorce cost? And how long will take you to change your marital status?

Leanne Townsend, a partner at the Mills & Mills LLP Barristers & Solicitors in Toronto, says that an uncontested divorce can cost between $1500-$2000.  On other hand, if the couple can’t agree about the family law issues the prices are completely different. If it’s true that a luxury wedding can cost you a fortune, a contested divorce seems to be also expensive.

How much does a divorce cost-canada-mileniostadium
Credito: DR

Some couples don’t know how to navigate in the legal system and according to this specialist in family law and divorce strategist, a divorce can be completed in months or it can take you years. Whatever you are planning to do, make sure you know first your legal rights, this is Townsend advice.

There were about 14.36 million married people living in Canada in 2020. This is an increase from the 12.07 million married people in Canada in 2000. The numbers are from Statistics Canada and the main reasons to happen are four: separation for at least one year; adultery, physical cruelty and mental cruelty. However, the number of marriages that comes to an end for this specific reason- separation for at least one year- is much higher than any of the other three reasons.

According to the UK based bestcasinosites.net that compared the number of divorces in 87 countries, Canada had the 29th highest divorce rate, which means that one out of every 309 adults are divorced. If you get curious about who leads the ranking the answer is Russia where one in 309 adults divorced. In the opposite direction Chile came in last with one in 5,174 adults divorced. But we have to consider that divorce was only legalized in Chile in 2004.

Milénio Stadium: How much does a divorce proceeding can cost to a couple? What are the minimum and maximum values?

How much does a divorce cost-canada-mileniostadium
Leanne Townsend – Family Law Group- Mills & Mills LLP Barristers & Solicitors. Credit: DR.

Leanne Townsend: An uncontested divorce can cost between $1500-$2000.  If the parties are not in agreement about the family law issues and there is a dispute that requires the use of the court system, the costs can run into the hundreds of thousands.

MS: What are the main steps to start divorce proceeding?

LT: The first step is having a consultation with a lawyer to determine the legal issues.  The next step usually is to complete a financial statement as full financial disclosure is very important.  If the matter has urgent issues such as a parent being denied access to their children, then the first step may be bringing a motion to get a court order to enforce parenting time. 

MS: How long does it take, on average, to conclude a divorce proceeding in Canada?

LT: It really varies depending upon the level of conflict, whether it is uncontested, or whether court proceedings are involved.  It can take as little as a few months to years.  In order to get a divorce though, the parties must have lived separate and apart for a minimum of one year.

MS: Would you say that since the pandemic more Canadians are getting divorced? Can you give me a percentage?

LT: The pandemic has been very stressful for most people and has affected the mental and financial health of many people. This type of additional stress is hard on families and couples who already may have had problems, have found that their difficulties have been exacerbated by the pandemic.  Too much time together has brought some couples closer together, while it has torn apart other couples.

MS: Based on your experience in the area of family law, what type of advice can you give to someone that is thinking about divorce?

LT: I always say that knowledge is power so I highly recommend speaking to a lawyer before doing anything so that you can find out your legal rights.  Many lawyers offer free or reduced rate consultations.  It is important to acquaint yourself with the family finances as much as possible, and it is important to have a good support network of professionals and friends in place to support you through the process.

Joana Leal/MS

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