How Long Does Contested Divorce Take in Canada

How Long Does Contested Divorce Take in Canada

When people are going through a contested divorce, the most common question people ask is how long the contested divorce will take. Unfortunately, this question has no answer because the length of a contested divorce can vary significantly based on several factors. 

This article will help you know how long a contested divorce lasts, typical processing times, and the factors behind it. Understanding what to anticipate and how to manage the divorce process may help you move on with your life more quickly and without as much difficulty, whether you are thinking about getting divorced or are currently going through one.

What is a Contested Divorce?

A disagreement between spouses about one or more significant divorce-related issues is known as a contested divorce. It can relate to issues like child custody, asset, and property distribution, spousal support, etc.

Unlike an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce is more difficult and time-consuming. A judge will be involved in making judgments regarding the divorce. One or both partners may complicate the procedure if they hire a lawyer.

What is a Separation Agreement?

A separation agreement is a legally binding contract between spouses that outlines the terms of living apart. Separation agreements allow couples power over child custody, spousal support, property distribution, and more. 

All of these are written in a document. The court review and give decisions based on the written documents.

What are the Average Timelines for Contested Divorce?

The legal method of ending a marriage is through a divorce. It implies you must go through the court system to finish the divorce process. You need to fill up, complete and submit the proper documentation for applying for divorce to your spouse. As divorce is not a one-sided process, the person you are filing the documentation with should have the time to respond. 

The length of a contested divorce process tends to become more complicated. It is based on various factors, including the case’s complexity, the level of conflict between the parties, etc. Usually, a contested divorce normally takes from 6 months to 36 months or more. It is because the court will have to take time to decide on the contested topics.

What are the Factors That Make a Divorce Process Take Longer?

Several factors make a divorce process take longer than the estimated time. Below are some of the factors mentioned

Level of Conflict

The level of conflict between the parties has a significant effect on the contested divorce. Negotiating a settlement may take longer if the parties do not agree on important topics. If the parties cooperate and work together, then there will be less conflict between the parties.

The Complexity of the Case

A divorce case may take longer to resolve if the case is complicated. For instance, if several assets exist, it could take longer to fairly evaluate and distribute assets, such as real estate, company interests, or investments. Moreover, the case takes time to resolve if child custody and spousal support are involved. 

For instance, who will have custody of the kids, or how much child support will be paid? As for the case of alimony, one spouse does not want to pay alimony to the other spouse. 

Court Backlog and Scheduling

The duration of a contested divorce increases due to the availability of the court. Sometimes, the court is backlogged with a large volume of cases. As a result, there is a delay in the scheduled hearings. Also, the process takes a long time if the court has limited resources.

Discovery Process

Through the discovery process, both parties exchange information and evidence. The procedure could take some time, especially if there is much paperwork or one side needs to be more cooperative. 

Similarly, finding and scheduling expert witnesses who can testify on complicated problems might take time.

Appraisal and Appeals Process

The divorce process can be lengthy if complex assets are to be appraised. Although the division of assets will often be equitable, there may be disputes about what is considered marital property and separate property. 

However, if both parties appeal the court decision, it will take a long time to finish the divorce process.

Read more, What Is The Divorce Rate In Canada?

What are the Expenses of a Contested Divorce?

Contested divorces result in extra legal fees since they take longer to resolve. A simple contested divorce can cost you at least $5,000 in legal expenses. A moderately difficult contested divorce might range between $7,000 and $10,000.


The length and complexity of a contested divorce can vary substantially based on several circumstances. It includes the complexity of the issues involved, the level of conflict between the parties, and the court’s scheduling and backlog. Contested divorces often take longer and cost more money than uncontested ones. 

Yet, you may speed up the solution to the disagreement and go on with your life by preparing for each step of the procedure, communicating clearly, and cooperating with the opposing party and your lawyer. Moreover, consult an experienced lawyer who can guide you throughout the process to help you with the legal process.


How Many Months Does It Take to Divorce in Canada?

Approximately four to six months are needed to complete the divorce proceedings in Canada. If you and your spouse submit all the documents and there are no issues to be resolved, divorce proceedings will take a couple of months to cover. 

Can a Contested Divorce be Resolved More Quickly through Mediation?

Mediation is an alternative way to speed up the settlement agreement more quickly than going to a trial. Yet, it relies on how both sides are open to negotiating and making compromises for mediation.

How Much Does a Contested Divorce Cost in Canada?

According to the Canadian Law Costs Survey, the average cost of divorce is $1,353 for uncontested divorces and $12,875 for contested divorces. You might spend over $50,000 if you take your divorce to court.

What Is the Longest Time a Divorce Can Take?

There is no specific deadline by which a divorce must be finalized. But, if a court observes that a divorce has been pending for about a year, a hearing will probably be scheduled to attempt to resolve any unresolved concerns.

Do You Need a Lawyer to File for Divorce in Canada?

In Canada, filing for divorce is possible without legal representation. But the best way to guarantee that your rights, children, and future are adequately safeguarded is to contact a lawyer specializing in family law in your province.

Who Pays for Divorce in Canada?

Each party pays its legal fees, and the individual filing for the divorce also pays the court charges. Yet, in rare circumstances, a provision for costs may oblige one spouse to pay the bill for the other spouse’s legal expenses.

Previous What Wife Gets after Divorce in Canada?

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