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Information & Legal Help
For Separation in B.C.
About Separation & Divorce in British Columbia, Canada
Every year in British Columbia, thousands of couples decide not to live together anymore. The process of ending a relationship is not an easy one, and it takes time to fully recover from a separation regardless of who initiated it.
In this emotional and difficult time, couples who are separating have to be careful in making major decisions that could have a lasting effect on their future lives. Separating from your partner means you no longer share a life together.
You don't have to face a complex relationship separation alone.
Get an experienced DDLaw mediator to help you get through it with confidence.
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What is a legal separation in BC?
When two people who have been living together in a marriage, or a marriage-like relationship (sometimes called a common-law relationship), decide not to live together any more, they are separated. There is no such thing as a “legal” separation. If you are living apart, you are separated.
If you want to separate from your spouse and live without them, you don’t need to:
- ask your spouse’s permission
- see a lawyer
- sign any documents
- go to court
After you’ve separated:
- you might still live in the same house as your spouse to save money, but
- you’ll usually be treated as separated if you don’t share things like meals, a bedroom, and social activities.
How long do you have to be separated in BC before you can get a divorce?
You must be separated for one year before you can get a divorce in BC. You can apply to the court for a divorce any time after you separate – the court will not grant a divorce until you have been separated for at least one year.
Do you need a separation agreement before divorce in BC?
You don’t need to sign a document or go to court to separate. If you’re married or in a common-law relationship, the law says you’ve separated:
- as soon as you and your spouse start living apart, and
- at least one of you wants to end your relationship.
But if you’re married, separation is only the first step!
The only way to legally end your marriage in BC is by getting a divorce order from a judge. To get a divorce in BC, you have to apply to the Supreme Court.
The court will give you a divorce if you or your spouse has lived in BC for at least one year and you can show that your marriage has broken down.
Should you get a separation agreement?
It all depends on your situation. Do you have assets you want to protect? Perhaps you need some legal assurance in addition to your former partner’s promises. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a good idea to get legal advice and help before you write your agreement, and before you sign it. A good family law lawyer like Uphar Dhaliwal can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities before you make your agreement final.