divorce order

Ask a BC Divorce Lawyer: When Can I File for Divorce?

If you are married and you want a divorce, you need to get a divorce order to end your marriage legally.

Of course, you can separate from your spouse before then, but in BC your marriage will not legally be over until you obtain a divorce order from the BC Supreme Court. This raises some significant questions with respect to timing. When can I file for divorce in BC? How long will it take to get a divorce? When can I get remarried? In this post, our divorce lawyer will answer some of the top questions with respect to the timeline for a BC divorce.


When can I file for divorce in BC?
You can file for divorce in BC any time after you separate, but the court will not grant the divorce order unless certain conditions are met. For example, you must satisfy the court that your marriage has broken down and that you have made reasonable arrangements for any children, including child support. In addition, there two key preconditions with respect to timing:


1. You or your spouse must have lived in BC for at least a year before you can apply in BC, and still be living here when the application is made. This residence requirement gives the Supreme Court jurisdiction to grant you a divorce in BC.
2. Regardless of when you file your divorce application, the court will not grant your divorce until you have been separated from your spouse for at least one year. The only exceptions to the requirement that spouses wait one year from the date of separation are for applications for divorce on the grounds of cruelty or adultery. Thuse grounds must be proven in court so if you are considering an application for a divorce on the grounds of adultery or cruelty, you should get advice from a skilled divorce lawyer.


What happens if my spouse and I attempt to reconcile during the period of separation?
Reconciliation with your spouse during the period of separation can impact the timeline for obtaining a divorce. Within the requisite one year of living separate and apart, the court permits spouses to resume cohabitation for a period or periods of up to 90 days for the sole purpose of exploring reconciliation. So, if you separate from your spouse for a second time during the 90 days of attempted reconciliation, you can still rely on the first date of separation when calculating the year of living separate and apart.


How long will it take to get a divorce in BC?
The process and timeline will depend on many factors. See here for our divorce lawyer’s overview of the common steps involved in filing for a BC divorce. Aside from waiting periods following service of court documents, the timeline for the divorce process itself will depend heavily on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested – in other words, whether you and your spouse have resolved issues such as parenting, child support, and division of property:
  1. If you and your spouse have a court order or agreement dealing with all issues, and you have lived separate and apart for at least a year, you can apply for an uncontested divorce also known as a “desk-order” divorce. In that case, it is possible to get a divorce judgment in as little as three to four months, but this will depend on factors such as how busy the BC Court Registry is and whether you have completed and filed the forms with the court properly.
  2. Keep in mind that the paperwork can be complicated and if it is not done correctly, there will be delays in obtaining your divorce order. If you retain our divorce lawyer, our firm will handle all of the paperwork and hassles that accompany divorce so that you can focus on moving forward and enjoying your life.
  3. If you have a contested divorce or in other words, you and your spouse have not resolved all issues such as parenting, child support, and division of property and debt, the timeline will be longer as you will have to wait for a trial to be scheduled. If you are not able to come to an agreement in the time it takes to wait for the trial, a judge will decide what to do about parenting, support, and property and debt issues and will consider the application for the divorce during the trial.

When can I get remarried?

You cannot get remarried until you are legally divorced. You will not be legally divorced until your divorce is final. A divorce is automatically final 31 days after the court grants a divorce order if no appeal is filed. As such, you cannot get remarried until after 31-days have passed following the granting of the divorce order.

Talk to an experienced divorce lawyer for help with the divorce filing process

If you need advice from a BC divorce lawyer with respect to the divorce filing process given your specific circumstances, contact Valerie M. Little Family Law Corporation. Ms. Little's practice is exclusively devoted to issues of family law in the Metro Vancouver areas. No matter what family law questions or issues you might be facing, we are here to help. You will receive attentive care and understanding at the office of Valerie M. Little. For more information about our family law office or to schedule a consultation with our divorce lawyer, please call us today.

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