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Divorce in British Columbia – Legally Ending Your Marriage

A desk order divorce can be granted if parenting, support, and property/debt issues are settled; or the court may decide those issues and grant the divorce.

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Divorce in British Columbia

If you’re married and have decided that the marriage needs to end, getting a divorce order is the only way to legally end your marriage.  Getting a divorce involves filing a Notice of Family Claim in the BC Supreme Court.  To get a divorce in BC, at least one spouse must live in BC and must have lived in BC for 12 months before the application is made.

Desk Order Divorces

If you and your spouse have agreed how to deal with parenting, support, property and debt issues, you can apply for an “uncontested divorce”.  This is often called a “desk order divorce”.  If the forms that have been filed with the court are in order and reasonable arrangements have been made for child support payments, the judge will grant the divorce without going to court.  

If you would like help obtaining a desk order divorce, our family law team is happy to assist you in doing so.

Contested Divorces

Sometimes all of the parenting, support, property and debt issues cannot be agreed upon, and it is necessary to ask the court to make a decision about parenting, support, and/or property and debt.  This is referred to as a contested or defended divorce. 

The process of getting a contested divorce is more complicated, and benefits from having experienced family lawyers guiding their clients through the process.  Experienced family lawyers can ensure that the right evidence is collected and presented to the court to make a fair decision.  Experienced family lawyers can also help negotiate parenting, support, property and/or debt issues on behalf of their clients and can help in reaching a fair settlement before going to trial.

It can take a long time to have a trial scheduled and the process can be time-consuming, expensive and stressful.  It may also be necessary to ask the court for interim orders with respect to parenting and support.  

Having an experienced family lawyer on your side may help the process go smoother and can assist in minimizing both costs and delays.  If you would like to speak with our family lawyer, Jim Monier-Williams, about your divorce, please contact us.

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