FASTHelp: Divorce

Here in Canada, we have a “no-fault” divorce system. This means that any married couple can get divorced as long as they live separate and apart for at least one year prior to applying for the divorce.


In a “no fault” divorce, the reason you and your spouse are divorcing simply does not matter when settling your other matters surrounding your divorce. These matters may include property division, debt division, pension division, spousal support, child support, parenting time of children and allocation of parenting responsibilities of the children. Essentially, you are free (and expected) to manage your personal emotional turmoil on your own time and not have a judge weigh and assess the reasons for your divorce and determine who was the most morally justified party.


In order to apply for a divorce in British Columbia, you must be a resident in BC for at least 1 year prior to starting the process. You must have a valid marriage certificate. If your marriage certificate is not in English, you will also need a translation of the marriage certificate as well. Keep in mind, prior to getting your divorce the Courts require that you sort out the most important things in your life – your plan for your children if you have any. Child support and parenting arrangements MUST be considered before you apply for your divorce.

Most lawyers would recommend that you sort out your property matters as well before applying for your divorce. Other than sorting through the difficult realities of separation, the actual divorce procedure is relatively simple. If you do not have any contested matters in your divorce, you can apply for what is called a “desk order divorce.” This means that you do not even need to attend court in order to get your divorce order. A divorce usually takes effect 31 days after the order for divorce is made. This allows time for the court registry staff to complete the required paperwork on their end to ensure that your divorce is registered.

Simply getting a divorce does not mean that your former bank paperworkspouse is now automatically removed from title to your property or from your financial affairs. You must communicate with each institution to ensure that the proper steps have been taken to have yourself or your spouse removed from title to property, from bank accounts, credit cards, and mortgages, among other things. If you are freshly separated and wish to discuss the divorce process and consequences of divorce, it is worthwhile to consult a lawyer to make sure that you’ve considered everything. If you have been separated for a long time, but still have not managed to get your divorce finalized, speak to a lawyer about doing up the paperwork for you.

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