Thousands of couples opt to end their relationship each year in British Columbia. Ending a relationship is no easy process. It takes time to properly heal from a separation. 

After a year of separation, one of the least controversial reasons for divorce in British Columbia is marriage breakdown.

The Supreme Court of British Columbia permits divorces based on marital dissolution. For the court to determine whether the accusations merit a divorce decree, you must show adequate proof of the allegations. One of the easiest options is to have your spouse sign an affidavit acknowledging the allegations.

The following are the three most frequent reasons for divorce in British Columbia:

1. Adultery

Divorce on the basis of adultery is more difficult to obtain than separation. The process of proving that adultery took place has to be the most difficult step. The court won’t force you to identify the person involved with your spouse, but you must base your accusations on concrete evidence that the court can substantiate. 

Obtaining a divorce decree based on adultery claims requires that your spouse admit adultery in an affidavit. Before filing for a divorce on the basis of other methods, such as examination for discovery and court appearances, you will need a comprehensive consultation with your family lawyer.

In order to file for a divorce based on adultery, both parties must affirm that they have not engaged in any form of collusion. More importantly, the adulterous act must have taken place without the knowledge or approval of the other spouse. Assuming there is sufficient evidence of adultery, the court will not take into account the length of the affair.

If the adulterous relationship was extramarital, the court will likely grant a divorce on the grounds of adultery. In open marriages, extramarital sex is not recognized as a valid reason for divorce by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

2. One-Year Separation

The most prevalent reason for divorce in British Columbia is separation. To get a divorce, all you need is proof that you and your spouse have lived in separate residences for at least 12 months. The Supreme Court of British Columbia has the authority to grant a divorce regardless of the reason for the separation.

However, the couple is given time to attempt reconciliation by being allowed to remain together for 90 days before the one-year separation period begins. 

The 12-month period will begin again if the couple remains together beyond 90 days without reaching a reconciliation agreement. There is no law prohibiting couples from remaining together for a year while awaiting a divorce decree, which is required to prove that the couple lived separately.

3. Mental or Physical Cruelty

In British Columbia, violence and mental abuse in the context of marriage are not tolerated. You can legally separate from an abusive partner by filing for divorce on the grounds of abuse. Only if the level of mistreatment makes continued cohabitation intolerable is a divorce granted on the basis of cruelty.

Nonetheless, the court will require you to present any evidence that proves cruelty. Claims of cruelty must also be free of inconsistencies and open to only one reasonable interpretation, according to the court. 

British Columbia’s top court and the state’s family law framework are designed to facilitate faultless divorces. As a result, flimsy accusations of cruelty and adultery will be dismissed. No-fault divorces are preferred by the legal system because they are less contentious and harmful to co-parenting relationships.

Steps for obtaining a Divorce in British Columbia:

If you are getting a divorce, it is highly recommended that you consult with a family lawyer to learn more about your rights and what steps you should take.

1. Obtain the Necessary Documents

The required documents for divorce must first be gathered by each party and their legal counsel. If you choose to go through with an uncontested divorce, the court will also give you time to resolve any disagreements on child custody, child support, and property.

While a separation agreement is not required in British Columbia when filing for divorce, the court may want to see that you both agreed on the majority of the contested topics, particularly those involving the children.

2. Complete the Notice of Family Claim Form

The Notice of Family Claim must then be completed in order to formally start the divorce procedure. You must serve your spouse with a Notice of Your Family Claim and submit this with the register. To proceed with your family case in British Columbia, you will need to submit one of the regular Supreme Court forms.

A disputed divorce case will be filed in court if you don’t reply to the Notice of Family Claim within 30 days.

3.Prepare additional Forms and Affidavits

Three additional documents and affidavits must be completed, and you must be sure to confirm them in front of the court. The divorce papers may be filed with the court 30 days after the affidavit has been sworn.

4. Execute and Deliver Divorce Orders

Once your spouse consents to a Notice of Family Claim, the court will grant a divorce. While you continue the legal procedure, the court may sometimes grant provisional orders to help you resolve other problems peacefully.

31 days after granting a divorce order, the Supreme Court of British Columbia will automatically proclaim the divorce to be final. This contemplates the fact that no more appeals are available and that no party has any remaining options for influencing the outcome. Only when the 31 days have passed are you permitted to remarry.

What You Must Know Regarding Divorce in BC

Divorce may be a costly and unpleasant event, particularly when the couple is unable to resolve their differences amicably. This is why divorce in British Columbia may be either contested or uncontested, both of which are options provided by the Supreme Court. If both parties agree to the dissolution of the marriage, they can file for an uncontested divorce.

Critical matters such as child support and custody, property division, and spousal support are addressed in this divorce agreement. Uncontested divorces are often the best choice since they feature a simpler, court-free procedure with fewer hearings.

If couples cannot agree on the choice to divorce, contested divorces are always the last option. Disagreement about child custody, property partition, and/or financial support are some of the most common reasons for a disputed divorce.

To qualify for a contested divorce, you must have conclusive evidence of adequate reasons for dissolution of the marriage. In addition, the court makes decisions on disputed topics such as child support, parenting, and property division.

To improve your chances of winning a divorce in British Columbia, you need an experienced family lawyer. You need a lawyer with extensive knowledge of divorce settlements in British Columbia. A competent family lawyer will acquaint you with the divorce procedure and advise you on your available alternatives.

In order to file for a disputed divorce, you need to show the court that you have been apart for over a year and have no intention of reuniting.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Divorce in BC?

The British Columbia Supreme Court mandates no standard duration for divorce proceedings. However, uncontested divorces may take much less time, depending on how long it takes the parties to resolve their concerns peacefully. In uncomplicated divorces, the time between filing and getting the divorce order is generally three to six months.

Before issuing a divorce decree, the court may take further time to verify that all relevant matters have been addressed if there are significant conflicts about the separation. 

Obtaining a divorce in British Columbia is straightforward if you are able to prove your allegations before the Supreme Court.  You must prove that your marriage ended for one or more of the three reasons. The whole divorce process in British Columbia is extremely exhausting and, in most situations, you will need the help of a family lawyer. 

When such situations emerge, our lawyers at Sodagar & Company may utilize their knowledge and experience to help you identify your rights and develop a course of action for obtaining a divorce in BC. For more information, you can contact us here.

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