Free information about getting divorced in Ontario



Divorce in Ontario where your spouse lives outside of Canada

Updated June 2016

Although divorces in Ontario are governed by the Family Law Rules, under the Rules of Civil Procedure, service of documents outside of Canada must be made in accordance with the “Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters”, commonly known as the ‘Hague Convention’ and ‘Hague Service’. Even though this Convention has been in force in Canada since 1999, it has generally not been applied by Ontario courts to uncontested, simple divorces in Ontario until very recently.

In a decision released on 20 June 2016, the Ontario Divisional Court ruled 'The Hague Service Convention applies to matters described in r. 1 (2) of the Family Law Rules. Compliance with the Hague Service Convention is therefore mandatory" (emphasis added) (Wang v. Lin, 2016 ONSC 3967).

*Note: Not all countries are covered by the Convention. Notable exceptions are: Afganistan, Cuba, Iran, Jamaica, the Philippines and most African and Middle Eastern countries. You can see a complete list here. Also, service by mail is still permitted by certain countries.


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Last updated on January 1, 2019