Why Would A Judge Refuse to Grant a Divorce?

Getting an uncontested or simple divorce is thought by many to be a straightforward process. As a result, many people who try to do their divorce on their own are surprised when a judge refuses to grant the divorce. There is no absolute right to a divorce. Judges can, and do, refuse to grant divorces in Ontario, but for some very specific reasons. Often people trying to get their divorce on their own make a mistake that prevents them from getting divorced.

Divorce legally ends a marriage in Ontario and Canada. The divorce order itself does only that and allows the spouses to get remarried again. So, people usually get a divorce when they want to remarry or have the option of getting remarried, or because they want to formally put an end to their marriage. Since common-law couples were never married, they do not have a marriage to end, either to marry someone else or otherwise and so common-law couples cannot get a divorce. That does not mean that they cannot ask for parenting orders child support or spousal support in Court. They can still do that and seek the relief available for common law couples, which is different from what married couples can ask for. See the page on common law relationships for more information. 

There are several reasons why a judge can refuse to grant a divorce under Ontario Law:

  1. The spouses have not been separated long enough
  2. At least one spouse has not made Ontario his or her home
  3. The spouse requesting the divorce has not properly served the divorce documents
  4. The spouse requesting the divorce did not fill out the court documents properly
  5. Appropriate child support is not being paid for the children of the marriage
  6. The spouses are seeking divorce for an improper purpose
  7. The spouse requesting the divorce is preventing the other spouse from getting a religious divorce.
John Schuman Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law book cover

You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a comprehensive explanation of parenting cases (parenting time and decision making), child support, spousal support, property division, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or iBook for your iPad or iPhone or ordering it from Amazon as a paperback. But to understand how the law works precisely in your situation, it is always best to speak to a good Family Law Lawyer.

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