Divorcing Through Court: Ontario’s Mandatory Information Program

It’s week five in our series explaining the nuts and bolts of traditional court divorce. After starting the case and serving documents, there’s one other preliminary before the case can move forward: attendance at a Mandatory Information Program (MIP).

What Is The MIP?

In most cases, both parties in a family law case must attend the MIP. It’s an information session conducted by a lawyer, usually held at the courthouse. It’s free, and it makes sense to go.

Divorce is one of life’s most stressful events, and the court system can seem like a labyrinth of rules and processes. The MIP helps to demystify some of the complexity. Running between one to two hours, the MIP provides ex-couples with basic legal information about:

If the spouses have children, the MIP will go on to explain the impact of divorce on young ones. Parents learn about the legal issues involved and receive tips and direction on community resources to support children through the process.

Who Must Attend, And Who Can Skip

Both applicant and respondent must attend within 45 days of starting a family law case. Each goes to his or her own session. If, somehow, both show up at the same one, one of them can request to attend a different session.

Only in a few cases are parties exempt from attendance:

  • No-frills divorce – for divorce alone, costs involved or uncontested claims
  • Past attendance – the parties have already been through an MIP before
  • Separation agreement – the parties only need to file their written agreement with the court

After attending the MIP, the parties receive certificates of completion, file them with the court and the case can move onto the next step: getting a court date and attending a case conference. We’ll look at these in our post next week.


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