How to apply for a divorce in Vancouver, BC Canada

On an application by either or both spouses, a court of competent jurisdiction may grant a divorce to the spouse or spouses on the ground that there has been a breakdown of their marriage.

Who is a spouse?

What is the breakdown of marriage?

The breakdown of a marriage is recognized only when the spouses have lived separately and apart for at least one year immediately preceding the determination of the divorce proceedings and were already living separately and apart at the commencement of the proceedings or

The spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is initiated has, since the celebration of the marriage, committed adultery or subjected the other spouse to physical or mental cruelty of a nature that renders the continued cohabitation intolerable for both parties.

What is separate and apart?

Does it mean that I have to move out of the family home?

You become separated when at least one party decides to separate and starts living apart, without the need for legal procedures, documents, or court involvement.

To understand the period of separation:

Spouses have lived separate and apart for any period during which they lived apart and neither of them intended to live separate and apart from the other. There are some exceptions.

How can I start the divorce process?

Do I need to go to the Court to start the divorce proceeding?

It depends if you and your spouse or common-law partner have resolved all the matters such as:

1.         Division of family property and debt.

2.         Which properties are considered family or separate properties of the parties? 

3.         Spousal and or child support payments.

4.         Parenting issues, parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Then simply you will file with the Court for an uncontested divorce.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is a legal dissolution of marriage where both spouses mutually agree on all relevant issues, such as division of assets, child custody, visitation rights, and financial support. In such cases, there’s no need for a court trial because the spouses have already reached an agreement. This type of divorce typically proceeds more quickly and with less conflict and expense than contested divorces, where the spouses cannot agree on one or more issues and require court intervention to resolve them.

How to reach an agreement with each other without the court intervention:

If the parties have agreed on all matters and documented them in writing it is called a separation agreement. A separation agreement serves as a contract between parties who have been in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years or who have been married and are now experiencing a breakdown in their relationship. This agreement addresses all the issues arising from the breakdown of their relationship, outlining terms related to asset division, child custody, visitation rights, and financial support.

What is a legally binding separation agreement?

A separation agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms and conditions agreed upon by a couple who have decided to separate or divorce. This agreement serves as a roadmap for the division of assets, debts, responsibilities, and other important matters, providing clarity and structure during a challenging time.

Typically, a separation agreement covers various aspects of the separation or divorce, including:

  • Division of Assets and Debts: It outlines how the couple’s assets, such as property, vehicles, savings, investments, and personal belongings, will be divided between them. Similarly, it addresses the allocation of debts, including loans, mortgages, and credit card balances
  • Child Custody and Visitation: If the couple has children, the agreement establishes arrangements for custody, visitation schedules, and parental responsibilities. It outlines where the children will reside and how decisions regarding their upbringing, education, and healthcare will be made.
  • Child Support and Spousal Support: The agreement specifies the financial support that one spouse may provide to the other, both for the children’s needs (child support) and for the support of the other spouse (spousal support or alimony). It typically includes details about the amount, frequency, and duration of payments.
  • Healthcare and Insurance: It addresses issues related to health insurance coverage for spouses and any dependents, including how premiums will be paid and who will be responsible for medical expenses not covered by insurance.
  • Retirement and Pension Plans: If applicable, the agreement outlines how retirement accounts, pension plans, and other retirement benefits will be divided between the spouses.
  • Tax Implications: It may include provisions regarding how tax obligations will be handled, such as filing status, deductions, and the treatment of assets for tax purposes.
  • Dispute Resolution: The agreement may outline procedures for resolving disputes that may arise in the future, such as mediation or arbitration, to avoid costly and time-consuming litigation.

It’s essential for both parties to carefully review and negotiate the terms of the separation agreement to ensure that their interests and rights are protected. Consulting with legal professionals, such as family law attorneys or mediators, can help ensure that the agreement is fair, comprehensive, and enforceable.

Once both parties have reached a mutual understanding and have signed the separation agreement, it becomes a legally binding contract. While a separation agreement can provide a smoother and less contentious path through the separation or divorce process, it’s important to note that it may be subject to modification if circumstances change significantly in the future.

Binding agreement:

The agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties and witnessed. However, if the agreement lacks fairness and full disclosure, if there are issues of misrepresentation, or if either party was coerced or under duress to sign, then the agreement may not be enforced. Therefore, it is highly recommended to seek independent legal advice (ILA) to mitigate potential disputes in the future. Your lawyer will explain your rights and obligations and assess whether the agreement adequately addresses them.

Once a separation agreement is signed, you may proceed to file for divorce with the Court. It’s important to note that you can only file for divorce in the Supreme Court, not the Provincial Court. Filing for divorce without legal representation may lead to complications, as minor errors in the application could result in rejection and prolong the divorce process by several months. Seeking legal advice can help prevent such delays and ensure a smoother process.

The cost for a separation agreement is between $2000 to $5000.

Divorce: $2000 to $2500.

Contact to speak to a Vancouver lawyer at YA Law Corporation.

YA Law Corporation

504-938 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1N9
Tel: 604.620.9598 | Fax: 604.620.9597