How much does divorce cost in Canada?

Canada Life - Feb 15, 2024
In Canada, average legal fees for divorce can run from $1,000 to $25,000, depending on your situation and your relationship with your spouse.
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According to a 2021 survey, on average, for legal fees alone, an uncontested divorce costs $1,000 to $2,000 and a contested divorce costs $7,500 to $25,000.

Factors affecting divorce costs

Generally, how much a divorce will cost you depends on how complicated your unique situation is and how much conflict there is between you and your spouse.

Uncontested divorce

If both spouses agree to divorce, and can agree on all divorce-related decisions, including property division, custody of any children and child and spousal support, you can file an uncontested divorce (also known as a simple divorce).

You can consult a lawyer or divorce mediator to help you negotiate and create your uncontested divorce agreement, if you wish.

Some provinces allow you to file for a simple divorce online without ever having to go to court.

Contested divorce

If you and your spouse can’t agree on all the terms of your divorce, then you’ll file a contested divorce application. This can be done two ways:

  1. One spouse files an application and the other spouse can contest it
  2. Both spouses file an application

In either situation, each of you are represented by your own lawyer who will negotiate and complete terms of your divorce. If your situation is complex or you’re not on good terms with one another, the process will likely take longer and be more expensive. Even a two-day trial could cost $3,500 to $20,000.

Other costs of divorce

So far, we’ve just discussed the legal costs of getting divorced. However, divorce has a long-term impact on both spouses as you’ll be supporting two households instead of just one, and possibly splitting your assets including pension plans, workplace benefits, retirement savings and property.

What's next?

If you’re considering a divorce, let’s set up a time to:

  • Create a post-divorce budget
  • Build a plan to achieve your post-divorce saving goals
  • Discuss estate planning changes


2021 Legal Fees Survey: Results | Canadian Lawyer (