Filing for divorce in BC starts with filing the Notice of Family Claim in Supreme Court. To get divorced in BC, well anywhere in Canada, you need to get an order for divorce from the court. In BC, you need an order for divorce from the British Columbia Supreme Court. The British Columbia Provincial Court does not have jurisdiction to grant you divorce.
After filing for divorce in BC, the divorce process can be either contested or uncontested. Contested divorce means that your ex is disputing the divorce. Uncontested divorce means that your ex is not disputing the divorce.
Why is my ex disputing the divorce?
There are a number of reasons, your ex may be disputing the filing for divorce in BC. For instance, you may not have sorted out:
- parenting, guardianship, or custody issues
- child support, section 7 expenses, or spousal support; or
- asset and debt division
It may also be that your ex is still in love with you and hopes that you will reconcile. If it is the latter, then don’t worry. Separation with no possibility of reconciliation is sufficient ground to get divorced in BC. However, if you have outstanding issues relating to support, parenting, and property division, the court may refuse to grant you a divorce.
As per the Divorce Act (Canada), if you do not have proper child support arrangement in place in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines the court can refuse to grant you divorce.
How to resolve outstanding issues?
There are quite a few options to resolve your outstanding issues so that you can get divorced in BC. The options depend on your relationship with your ex and the complexity of the issues at stake.
1- Kitchen table agreement: my ex and I are best buds! I feel we can sit down together and address all the issues and write down an agreement.
2- Mediation: my ex and I get along quite well! I feel we can work things out amicably, but we just need that one extra push from a neutral third party to help us reach a final settlement.
3- Court: Emotions are running high! My ex just won’t agree to anything reasonable! There is no way we can reach an agreement. We need a judge to decide for us and our children how our future is going to look like! We are going to the mattresses!
Once you have decided what your first step is going to be, we strongly recommend that you speak with an experienced family lawyer to find out what your legal rights are. Do not sign anything before speaking to a lawyer. You want any settlement you reach or any claims you make in court to be within the boundaries of the law.
If you need our assistance for a consultation, we offer affordable consultation options that may meet suit your needs.
Ok, we reached a settlement, what happened to filing for divorce in BC?
Job well done! The hard part is over. Now off to the easy portion, well easier part, of the case, which is filing for divorce in BC! Here is a checklist of what you need to do to get divorce in BC (for uncontested/desk order divorce):
- Prepare a Notice of Family Claim. Make sure you select Divorce and fill out Schedule I of the Notice of Family Claim. You also need your original marriage certificate. If you are asking for other orders in addition to divorce, you must fill out the appropriate schedules.
- Fill out the Registration of Divorce Proceedings form. Make sure you type this form, as the registry does not accept hand written copies.
- After you have completed the two forms, i.e. Notice of Family Claim and the Registration of Divorce Proceedings, take the original signed Notice of Family Claim and at least one copy of the forms to the court registry that is nearest to you and file it there. You will need to pay the filing fees. The registry will give you back a copy and will keep the original. Also submit the completed Registration of Divorce Proceedings Form to the registry.
- Have someone other than you personally hand deliver the filed Notice of Family claim to your ex. In the legal world, we call this serving your ex. You can hire a process server or you can ask a friend or family member.
- Hiring a process server may be easier since they will prepare and swear an affidavit for personal service. If you ask a friend or family member to serve your ex, you need to prepare the Affidavit for personal service. Your friend or family then needs to swear the Affidavit. They can swear the Affidavit at the court registry for a fee.
- File the sworn Affidavit of Personal Service at the same Court Registry that you filed your Notice of Family Claim.
Next steps to get divorced in BC, after Service …
- Patiently wait for 30 days. If your ex does not file a response or counterclaim, you can proceed by way of uncontested/desk order divorce.
- Prepare and swear affidavit for divorce. You may attach your separation agreement to this Affidavit as an Exhibit.
- Prepare and swear the Affidavit for Child Support, if you have children. You do not need this Affidavit, if you do not have any children or your children are over the age of majority and are independent. This Affidavit sets out the child support arrangements and the arrangements you made for section 7 expenses. Attach your separation agreement to this Affidavit as an Exhibit to satisfy the court that child support and section 7 expenses arrangements are in accordance with the guidelines. If the amount of child support is not as per the guidelines, then you will need to satisfy the court that the arrangement you have made is satisfactory. Otherwise, you are out of luck as it is unlikely to get divorced in BC.
I prepared the affidavits, what’s next to do to get divorced in BC?
Just as you thought, it would not get any harder! We love paper work. So, prepare four more forms. Here are the forms that you need:
- Form 35 Requisition, sets out what you are asking for and the documents that you are providing to the court.
- Form F17 Requisition to prove that the divorce is undefended. This form asks the registry to search file for a response or counterclaim. Under “Required,” type in “Please search for a Response to Family Claim or Counterclaim filed in this matter.”
- Form F36 Certificate of Pleadings. This is the form that the registry uses to tell the judge that everything is procedurally correct.
- A draft Final Order. In this order you will include the order for divorce along with any other orders you are seeking.
Forms are ready, what’s the next step to get divorced in BC?
Take the four forms, along with the applicable affidavits to the registry that you filed your Notice of Family Claim. Swear the Affidavit(s) at the registry and pay the fee. File everything at the registry. Best to take the original copies of all documents along with a photo copy. The registry will keep the originals and will stamp and return the photo copy to you for your records. This is the last step in filing for divorce in BC.
Now all you have to do it to wait until a judge reviews your file. It could take up to six months. If you did everything correctly, you will get the order for divorce. Then, you can send a copy to your ex. You can also apply for a divorce certificate for a fee, if you want to. To get your divorce certificate follow this link.
However, frequently, people get rejection notices because, for instance, they did not follow all the steps, they did not prepare their affidavits correctly, or proper child support arrangements are not in place. If you have difficulty with filing for in BC, contact us to book a consultation to see how we can help you. We offer flat fee of $1,500.00 + taxes and disbursements for uncontested divorces not including children related issues. For uncontested divorces including children related issues, we offer a flat fee of $2,000.00 + taxes and disbursements.
Deadlines/Timelines to get divorced in BC
Here are the deadlines that you need to remember when you are filing for divorce in BC:
- Lived separate and apart for at least a year. There are three grounds for divorce:
- Living separate and apart for a year – does not require a hearing/trial if your ex does not file a response or counterclaim. Thus, you can proceed by way of a desk order/uncontested divorce.
- Cruelty – requires a hearing/trial
- Adultery – requires a hearing/trial
- You or your ex must be a resident of BC for at least a year.
- File your affidavits of Divorce and Child Support within 30 days of swearing them, otherwise you will need to re-swear them.
If you have any questions about how to get divorced in BC or if you have questions about filing for divorce in BC, contact us. We can help. We are Vancouver Family Law Firm specializing in Divorces.