Whether you are getting separated, divorced or your marriage is to be annulled, there are steps you should take to prepare. A separation is where you and your spouse live separately and apart with the intent of getting a divorce, while an annulment is a court order that declares a marriage to be invalid from the start. These are each described in more detail below.
What’s Involved in a Separation or Divorce?
A separation entails living separate and apart from your spouse, even if you two live in different parts of your existing home. You may be happy to remain separated from your ex, but if you wish to obtain a a divorce in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the period of living separate and apart must be at least a year or less than one year if one spouse has either been abusive or committed adultery.
If you and your ex have agreed on issues of child custody, access, support issues, property and debt division, the last step to obtaining a Desk Order Divorce is to file the Requisition, an Affidavit of Service, Divorce Order, Affidavit-Uncontested Divorce and Child Support Affidavit, if there are children still eligible for child support.
Keep in mind that a divorce may be refused by the court on several grounds. For example, before granting a divorce, a Judge must be first satisfied that the best interests of the children have been addressed which includes paying the proper amount of support according to the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The Judge be satisfied that you and your former spouse have not colluded in lying to the court in order to get a divorce earlier than you are eligible or that you have married one another for an ulterior motive such as improving one’s immigration status in Canada.
What is an Annulment?
Unlike a separation, an annulment is a declaration that your marriage was never valid. This can occur where one spouse was already married when they got re-married, a spouse was under the age of 16 at the marriage ceremony or the spouse married someone other than who they intended to marry. In order to get an annulment, you must complete a Form 8 and apply to the British Columbia Supreme Court .
J.G. v. S.S.S., 2004 BCSC 1549 (CanLII) is an example where an annulment was granted. In this case, the plaintiff sought an annulment from the court because her husband had made fundamental misrepresentations about his health and character and further used the marriage as a sham to enable him to immigrate to Canada. The defendant represented that he was a vegetarian and did not have any alcohol or drug addictions. However, such representations turned out to be untruthful. The court found that the plaintiff did not marry who she intended to marry and the defendant had fraudulently represented himself. An annulment was granted.
Contact a Family Lawyer at Valerie M. Little Law Corporation
If you have any questions about preparing for separation or annulment, contact our office. Our team of lawyers is experienced and can help you navigate the best route for your circumstances. Valerie M. Little has been practicing for over 25 years as a separation and divorce lawyer. Contact us or call to set up your consultation at 604-526-3333.