Information & Legal Help
For Getting a Divorce in BC

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Getting a divorce may be one of the most intensely emotional and disruptive experiences of your life.

Getting a divorce is not an easy situation for anybody involved. When your marriage is coming to an end, you’ll likely go through a journey of conflicting emotions, ranging from relief to anger, doubt to happiness and every other emotion in-between.

Knowing what to expect when getting a divorce won’t alleviate the negative emotions you might feel. However, it will help you navigate the complexities of getting a divorce in BC so you can emotionally regroup and move on with the rest of your life.


What do I need to know about getting a divorce in BC?

There are a few things you need to know about getting a divorce in BC. First, you need to know that, “a divorce is the legal end of a legal marriage. Only the Supreme Court can grant a divorce.” Source

And if you want to get married again, you need to be completely, legally single! In other words, you must get a divorce or have already been legally divorced if you want to remarry in Canada.

There are different types of divorce in Canada

In Canada there are two types of Divorce you should be aware of; a Contested Divorce and an Uncontested Divorce.

What’s a Contested Divorce?

A contested divorce (also known as a defended divorce) means you both want to get divorced but can’t agree about some issues. Some of the issues you might not agree upon are parenting, support, or how to divide property and debt. A contested divorce may not necessarily mean you and your spouse don’t agree about getting divorced.

What’s an Uncontested Divorce?

An uncontested divorce is sometimes called a no-contest divorce, joint divorce or desk divorce.
A joint divorce means making an application for a divorce together with your spouse. It means that you and your spouse agree about getting a divorce in BC and that you agree about all of the family law issues relevant to your situation, such as spousal support, and the division of family property and debts. You can apply for a joint divorce here.

An uncontested divorce can have many advantages over the expensive, slow and adversarial court process. It’s usually worthwhile to attempt to reach an agreement on any outstanding issues before going to court.

Even if you both choose an uncontested or joint divorce, it is highly recommended that you get the help of a family lawyer like Uphar Dhaliwal from the Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group to help you with the paperwork and filing.

CTA: Get a top B.C. family lawyer to review your divorce situation! Determine whether you meet the legal requirements for an uncontested divorce. Make sure you protect yourself legally by understanding your rights and obligations under the law.

Timing of Getting a Divorce In BC

  • The Supreme Court will grant your divorce if all of the following conditions are met:
  • You (or your spouse) have lived in this province for a year or more
  • You can demonstrate that your marriage has broken down
  • The court is satisfied that you have made reasonable arrangements for any children, including child support
  • 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.
  • A divorce is automatically final 31 days after the court grants a divorce order if no appeal has been filed – remarriage can only happen after the 31-day period has passed.

B.C. Residency for Divorce

In order to get divorced in British Columbia, you or your spouse, must be a B.C. resident. Residency can be established by living in B.C. for the past year. At least one person must also live in B.C. until the Statement of Claim for divorce is filed.

Marriage Certificate & Photo

You will need to produce an original marriage certificate. If you don’t have your marriage certificate, you can obtain it from the jurisdiction you were married in. We will also need to see a photo of the spouse who has not retained us in order to proceed with the desk divorce application.

Do I Need a Separation Agreement?

For most people, the answer is yes. The divorce application will only address certain limited issues. A detailed separation agreement is the only way to ensure everything is truly resolved. If you’re interested in avoiding disputes long-term, you should have a separation agreement.

The Family Lawyer’s at Dhanu Dhaliwal Law Group typically draft a separation agreement as part of your uncontested divorce plan, ensuring that the agreement you’ve reached is comprehensive, documented, and legally enforceable.

The Cost of Getting a Divorce

A contested divorce can be very costly. Legal fees are generally based on time spent, billed in 7 minute increments. The time spent analyzing a client’s legal position, learning about the history of the relationship, and calculating entitlements in various legal scenarios can quickly add up.

The time a lawyer spends actually talking with and advising their own client is usually only a small fraction of the overall time spent on a contested divorce file. If a divorce goes all the way to trial, lawyer costs for each person will run into multiple thousands of dollars.

Canadian Family Law News

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