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  • Writer's pictureJared Davies, Lawyer

Affordable family lawyer Ottawa? The true cost of divorce explained.

Are you seeking an affordable family lawyer Ottawa? The best way you are going to save money on legal fees is to come to a resolution or settlement with your spouse and to avoid court. However, if your spouse is being unreasonable, settlement may be out of the question.

The cost of a divorce in Ontario can be broken down into two major components: 1) court filing fees/disbursements and 2) legal fees. For a simple divorce (i.e. where there are no contested issues), many firms offer in a range of $1,500.00 to $2,500.00 including court filing fees (as discussed below). However, costs can be much more prohibitive when there are disputed matters. And without a crystal ball, it is impossible to predict the cost of a contested divorce in its entirety. This means that the cost of your divorce will be determined by how easily you and the opposing party can settle.

Court filing

Beyond an affordable family lawyer Ottawa, the court filing feels have a total cost of approximately $659.00 as per O. Reg. 417/95. The first payment, $214.00, is due upon filing the application for divorce. The second payment, $445.00, is due before the court reviews the case. There is a Fee Waiver Request Form if you meet certain eligibility requirements.

Examples of common disbursements

Court filing fees are not the only disbursements that may arise in a divorce. For example, there are usually costs associated with valuing assets, whether that be a business and/or business income, a home, a pension, etc. Typically, the owner of the property must pay to get the asset appraised as per section 13 of the Family Law Rules (see ex. Palkowski v. Palkowski, 2020 ONSC 24).

If a party is self-employed, business valuators and income assessors may be hired to prove income. The cost of a business valuator or an income assessor can easily reach over $10,000.00, as was the case in Gilby v. Goddard, 2014 CarswellOnt 4706.

Typically, the less complex of an asset, the cheaper the valuation. The cost to value other assets like the family home are much cheaper. For instance, Nesto Mortgage Experts estimates the cost of a home valuation in Ontario to be approximately $300 to $500.

There may be other disbursements associated with expert testimony, process serving fees, courier charges, private investigators and more (not including an affordable family lawyer Ottawa).

Legal fees in a contested divorce

There are several issues that may arise out of a contested divorce such as parenting issues, property issues and/or support issues. Legal fees are typically the question. How much do lawyers charge in a contested divorce to assist with these issues? There are many factors that go along with the cost of a lawyer, including the billing rate of the lawyer, the complexity of the dispute/issue, the time required, the amount of legal proceedings within the case, and more.

Typically, lawyers bill on an hourly basis. However, some lawyers will allow for a block fee for a particular proceeding. For example, rather than billing on an hourly basis for a separation agreement, some lawyers may charge a flat fee for a separation agreement. Lawyer fees on an hourly basis can start as low as $200.00 per hour and go all the way up to and in excess of $750.00 per hour, depending on the level of experience and reputation of the legal practitioner.


Looking for an affordable family lawyer Ottawa? The cost of a contested divorce is broken down into court filing fees, other disbursements typically related to asset valuation and, finally, legal fees. Legal fees can be quite extensive which should encourage parties to settle their matters outside of court. One thing to keep in mind is that success and reasonability matter in court, and if a party has both they can potentially recoup some of their legal fees. We have competitive rates at Davies Family Law. Contact us for more information.

affordable family lawyer ottawa


This site cannot provide, or be a supplement to, legal advice. This blog post does not account for the unique facts of your individual case. There is no guarantee the information in the enclosed blog post is accurate or up to date. Information which appears on this website is general legal information only and does not create a solicitor-client relationship. If you need advice based upon your own particular situation, please speak to a lawyer.

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