How to file for divorce in BC

How to file for divorce

Divorce is never easy. Knowing how to file for divorce in BC is important to make sure you have explored your options for solving this family dispute as quickly and efficiently as possible. Here’s what you need to know about how to file for divorce.

Reasons for divorce

There are many reasons a marriage or common law relationship to break down and include adultery (or being unfaithful), and when physical or mental abuse of one partner toward the other make it impossible to co-habitate. These need to be proved in court, or else you must wait one year after separation to be granted divorce.

Amicable vs contested divorces

About 80% of divorces are uncontested. When your separation is amicable, the courts still need to legally dissolve your marriage. You can apply for dissolution of marriage jointly, in what’s called a desk-order divorce. It is still possible to have an uncontested divorce if one of the spouses doesn’t not respond to the divorce application within the pre-specified time.

If there are any unresolved issues regarding the separation, or one partner does not wish a divorce, you have a contested divorce. In these cases, the process for filing for a divorce is different as you are also asking a judge to help you settle unresolved matters relating to parenting, support, and/or property and debts.

When a divorce is granted

To legally end your marriage, the Supreme Court of Canada must grant your petition. In BC, this will only happen if at least one spouse has lived in BC for a year or more, you can demonstrate that your marriage has irreparably broken down, and the court is satisfied arrangements for any children and child support are reasonable.

You can begin the divorce process as soon as you separate, but a legal divorce will not be granted until you have been separated for at least one year. Thirty-one days after the court grants your divorce petition, the decision is final. This allows you to legally remarry if you wish.

Getting a Divorce Certificate

After the 31 day waiting period, you can apply for your divorce certificate in-person or by mail. Visit for more information about the process to get a copy of the certificate for your records.

Our legal team understands that not all family disputes and separations are easy, or amicable. No matter your reasons for separating or divorcing, our legal team will show you how to file for divorce, make sure that your interests are respected and met, and present your case in court if needed. We can help you navigate and overcome separation and relationship splits.

To speak in confidence to a lawyer about divorce or separation, please fill out our online questionnaire today.





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