How much does a divorce cost in Quebec?

How much does a divorce cost

In addition to being one of life’s most difficult trials, divorce is unfortunately not free. A divorce that costs more than a marriage? This is sometimes the case, except for an amicable divorce which is always less expensive than a contested divorce. 

A divorce can have both an emotional and financial impact. The cost of a divorce procedure varies according to several elements such as the reason for the divorce, the use of a lawyer, the presence of dependent children, etc. It is important to anticipate the cost of your divorce to avoid any financial surprises.

What is the cost of an amicable divorce?

An amicable divorce, also known as a divorce by mutual consent, is a divorce where the former spouses agree on all arrangements to be made during and after the divorce such as transfer of property, alimony, child custody, etc. An amicable divorce is considered the simplest, quickest and cheapest divorce. It can be granted after a few months and costs on average $1,845

In Quebec, the total cost of divorce is divided as follows :

  • The cost of a lawyer varies between $600 and $1600. In Quebec, the average hourly rate for a lawyer is between $100 and $150.
  • The fee for a request to initiate proceedings, which costs $302
  • Joint application fee of $101
  • The federal fee for The Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings which is $10

What is the cost of a contested divorce?

According to the Canadian Lawyer magazine, a contested divorce costs an average of $13,000, but costs can range anywhere from $7,300 to $74,000. The costs of a divorce can skyrocket if one spouse has a much higher income than the other, not to mention the out-of-court costs.

In the case of a contested divorce, the spouses disagree on most issues such as who takes what, who pays for child support, etc. This is usually the reason why a contested divorce is much more expensive than an amicable divorce. When ex-spouses disagree, it takes longer to finalize the divorce. The cost of a lawyer for a contested divorce ranges from $7,500 to $15,000

What are the divorce procedures?

The petition for divorce, also known as the petition to initiate divorce proceedings, must be drawn up and submitted to the Court along with other documents. 

The following is a list of the necessary documents that must accompany the divorce application: 

  • The birth certificate of each spouse
  • The marriage certificate of the spouses
  • The marriage contract of the spouses, if there is one

The following is a list of documents that may be requested in addition to those already mentioned: 

  • Any agreement with the Director of Youth Protection
  • Any judgment in youth protection concerning a child of the couple
  • The agreement between the spouses to settle the consequences of their break-up
  • The act of renunciation of the family patrimony
  • The birth certificate of each child
  • Any promise, undertaking or order provided for in the Criminal Code concerning one of the spouses or children
  • Official translation of marriage or birth certificates (if the originals are in a foreign language)

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What are the financial consequences of a divorce?

The long-term financial consequences of a divorce are significant. A divorce will result in a decrease in combined income and a decrease in the value of the assets at the time of the division. While ending a union is emotionally devastating, the financial repercussions can also be damaging. That’s why it’s best to learn about the consequences of a permanent breakup.

Here are a few financial aspects that are worth mentioning:

The transfer of assets: the fiscal component

One of the first consequences of divorce is often the division of property between the former spouses. In principle, each spouse is entitled to a share of the family property.

To calculate the value of the property to be divided, the market value of the property is first determined. Then the net value of the estate is calculated by subtracting any debts incurred for the improvement and maintenance of the property and other amounts. The net worth is then divided equally between the two parties.

Former spouses have the right to transfer certain assets that are equal in value to the amount that can be divided, without having to convert them to cash. For example, one partner can keep the principal residence worth $300,000 while the other can keep his or her RRSPs, which must be equal in value to the value of the residence.

The transfer of pension plans, RRSPs and RRIFs

The transfer of RRSPs or RRIFs from one spouse to the other is another consequence of divorce. When spouses separate, one spouse receives an income that is withdrawn from the other partner’s RRSP or RRIF. Usually, taxes are payable on each amount withdrawn. There are tax provisions that allow a direct transfer of RRSPs or RRIFs from one spouse to the other without immediate tax impact.

Alimony payment

In a divorce, one spouse has an obligation to pay support to the other spouse. The other spouse may be entitled to support even if the former spouses do not have children. This is calculated and set by the judge. In the case of children, it may be paid during and beyond the divorce proceedings in order to help contribute to the maintenance and education of the children. 

It generally represents between 1.5% and 2% of the salary difference between the two parties, multiplied by the number of years of cohabitation, in the case where the former spouses have no children. In the case of children, alimony can vary from 40% to 46% of the total net individual disposable income.

The compensatory allowance

When one of the two parties involved in the divorce has an income that is much higher than that of his or her ex-spouse, he or she is obliged to send him or her compensation, which may take the form of a sum of money or real estate to make up for the loss of the standard of living that he or she had.

Need the services of a lawyer?

Generally, it is almost impossible to divorce without a lawyer. The intervention of a lawyer is essential for any type of divorce. Each of the two parties involved will need a lawyer. It is only in the case of an amicable divorce that the ex-spouses can hire the same lawyer to reduce costs.

During a divorce, a lawyer will be able to inform you about your rights, obligations and the steps to follow. He/She will advise and accompany you throughout the divorce process. The lawyer can also act as a mediator in the event of a conflict in order to reach a fair agreement that satisfies all parties. He/She helps resolve disagreements concerning child custody, alimony and other issues.

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