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Desk Order Divorce: A Simpler Approach To Divorce In BC

Desk Order Divorce: A Simpler Approach to Divorce in BC

Forty percent of marriages are expected to end in divorce within 50 years of marriage. The changes brought on by the Covid-19 global pandemic have only exacerbated these unfortunate statistics. Though many couples approach the divorce process cooperatively, the stress of the legal processes and appearing in front of a judge can create unique challenges. In BC, couples who have already agreed on the terms of their divorce can avoid appearing in the Supreme Court for a divorce order by completing what is known as a desk order divorce. 

What is a Desk Order Divorce?

Desk order divorces are increasingly favoured by couples as they can be faster, less expensive, and easier than the traditional divorce process. Desk order divorces could be considered a fast track to legal divorce, even for couples with children. In a desk order divorce, couples can file for divorce, prepare and submit evidence of their agreed terms and plans for maintenance of their children to be granted a divorce order without appearing in court. This process is ideal for couples who have already formally settled all the terms of their divorce.

Is a Desk Order Divorce Suited to My Situation?

Desk order divorces can save time and money for couples who have approached their separation and divorce cooperatively, and have already agreed on all terms of their divorce. The desk order divorce process is not suited for high-conflict situations or couples who have not formally agreed on the terms of their divorce. Couples considering a desk order divorce should make sure they both clearly understand and agree to the terms of their divorce before starting the legal process of a desk order divorce. There should be detailed, signed documents covering these issues to provide evidence to the court. Things which couples must include in their agreements include:

Couples who work cooperatively on their divorce can save time and money while simplifying their divorce process.
  • Division of personal and marital assets
  • Spousal support payments
  • Custody and parenting of children (if applicable)

If there are children involved in the divorce, couples should be prepared to provide very detailed agreements on how they will be cared for. The courts have a particularly high standard for the welfare of children in divorce, and require evidence that careful arrangements have been made to support them financially.

Things to Consider When Filing a Desk Order Divorce

Couples considering this route for divorce should be warned that desk order divorces should not be thought of as a ‘DIY or Do-It-Yourself divorce’. The vast majority of applications submitted to the court which have been completed by couples without the help of a lawyer are rejected, as they were simply filled out incorrectly. Often, people underestimate the degree of detail required by the court to grant a desk order divorce, and are surprised and inconvenienced when their filing is rejected. When the submitted files don’t meet the standards of the court, couples can be forced to submit more detailed evidence and/or appear before a judge, defeating much of the purpose for pursuing a desk order divorce. For more details on the process of filing, read our post on how desk order divorces work in BC.

If you think your situation could be simplified by a desk order divorce, or need advice on documents you’ve already prepared, contact our experienced family lawyer, Jim Monier-Williams today.

Have a question about this topic or a different legal topic? Contact us for a free consultation. Reach us via phone at 250-888-0002, or via email at

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