FAQs about Divorce Orders

If you're facing the end of your marriage, you have a lot weighing on you. Conflicting feelings come and go. You have to continue with your daily activities and still keep up with escalating demands on your time and resources. If you have children, you work hard to consider their needs.


In the meantime, you have many questions of your own. Foremost in your mind is the big question: When will it be over?


Before your marriage is legally over, you must obtain a divorce order. The following questions will help you answer the basic questions most people have about divorce orders and other related topics.


Q: What is a divorce order?

A: A divorce order is the result of a judge's ruling. Only a court can grant the order for a couple to divorce. Before you can obtain this order, you must begin a court case, even if the rest of the divorce process happens out of court.


Q: How do I begin the process?

A: To start the legal process, your lawyer will help you file a Notice of Family Claim. However, before you apply, you or your spouse must have lived in British Columbia for a full year.


Q: Are there any special conditions I should know about                    before applying?

A: Yes. Before the court can consider your application, you must prove that you are legally married. You can do this with a copy of your marriage certificate or an affidavit from marriage witnesses who attended your marriage ceremony if the marriage certificate cannot be obtained due to the destination of those vital statistics records as result of war...etc. You must also provide your grounds for divorce: living separate and apart for 1 year, separation during the past year, adultery, or cruelty). If you satisfy these grounds and also prove that you or your spouse has lived a full year in BC, you can begin the final process.


Q: What if my spouse and I can't agree on property division and parental rights?

A: If you disagree on important issues such as child support, family debt, or family property division, your case will be resolved at trial. Should you and your spouse reach an agreement on these issues, you will not need to go to trial. If your divorce is contested, you should not attempt to conduct the trial on your own.


Q: My spouse and I agree about all the above issues. Is our application process different?

A: Yes. If you agree on these issues, you can proceed by way of a Desk Order Divorce. To begin the process, one spouse or both spouses begin a court case without any dispute from the other spouse. It's also possible to have both spouses file simultaneously. Your lawyer will help you with all the requisite paperwork. If everything proceeds smoothly, you will not need to appear in court.


Q: What will the judge consider before granting the divorce order?

A: As already mentioned, the court needs to know that your marriage still exists, even though you are separated. Similarly, a judge must be satisfied on your grounds for divorce as well as the length of time you have been in BC. Additionally, the court needs to know that child support payments are regularly paid and are being paid in the appropriate amount based on the Guideline Income of the paying spouse.


Q: Can my divorce order application be opposed?

A: Yes, a spouse can oppose the divorce; however, the court can still grant the divorce if the court is satisfied on the evidence presented that the grounds for divorce has been established.


Q: How long does the process generally take?

A: It's common for the final paperwork to take 7 months to be processed by the court but depends on the speed of the court and how many other cases are ahead of your case in the queue.


Q: What fees are involved when filing for a divorce order?

A: The court fee for the initial fling is $210.00. Your lawyer's fees are separate, so discuss those with your lawyer during your initial consultation.


Q: How do I know when the divorce order is finalized?

A: Once your claim is finalized and all corollary, or associated, issues are satisfied (e.g., child and spousal support or related legal issues), the court will grant the divorce. You will receive official documentation at this time.


Remember, the divorce process is different for every couple. These answers are meant to give general guidance, but they do not replace competent legal advice from your family lawyer. If you have difficulty resolving parenting issues, maintenance, or any other divorce-related issues, call Valerie M Little Law Corporation at 604-526-3333 right away. Let the family law specialist focus on your family law issues so you can concentrate on moving forward with your life.

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Valerie Little is centrally located in New Westminster and serves the surrounding areas of Burnaby, Maple Ridge, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Vancouver, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Port Moody, Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale, Delta, Langley, Tri-Cities, and the Lower Mainland.

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