Image Alt
  >  Divorce   >  Filing a divorce in BC, step by step guide

Filing a divorce in BC, step by step guide

According to British Columbia law, a divorce is the formal termination of a legal marriage. This article will guide you through the process of filing for a divorce in BC.

Divorce Eligibility

You are eligible to file for a divorce in BC if:

  • You or your spouse have been living in the province of BC for one year or more.
  • You can prove that your marriage has broken down.
  • The court is satisfied that you have made reasonable childcare arrangements, including child support.

A non-Canadian couple is also entitled to file for divorce if they were married in Canada and cannot annul their marriage in their home country due to non-recognition of their Canadian marriage.

Requisites for a Divorce

Marriage Certificate

To apply for divorce, you must provide a Certificate of Marriage or a certified copy of the Registration of Marriage from British Columbia’s Vital Statistics office. Suppose you were married in another nation or province. In that case, you will need to retrieve your original Marriage Certificate, or a certified copy of the Registration of Marriage, from the equivalent of Vital Statistics in that location.

Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is a legal contract that describes the individual obligations of each member of a relationship and establishes mutually acceptable arrangements involving parenting, child support, spousal support, property, debt, etc.

It is always advisable to consult a family lawyer before entering into a separation agreement with your spouse. Often, a lack of consensus on separation agreements results in disputes.

Process of filing a divorce in BC

Contested or Uncontested Divorce

Depending on your situation, you can choose one of the two ways of getting a divorce.

  • A contested divorce occurs when you and your spouse want a divorce but cannot agree on some issues, such as child custody, child support, or how to split property and debt. Even if your spouse does not desire a divorce, the court has the power to order one. But, a court will not do so until all your difficulties are settled.
  • In an uncontested divorce, all parties agree on how to handle custody, support, and property and debt matters. This is also known as desk-order divorce. Even if the divorce is uncontested, a court decree is necessary for the divorce to be valid.
    After choosing a way of getting a divorce appropriate to your circumstances, you can carry on with the respective procedure.

Filling out the necessary forms for divorce

In order to initiate the divorce process, you must submit a Notice of Family Claim (F3) or Notice of Joint Family Claim (F1) and Registration of Divorce Proceedings with the BC Supreme Court.

Proving Breakdown of the Marriage

Before a divorce is granted, you must demonstrate to the court that the marriage has broken down. To establish the dissolution of the marriage, the party seeking a divorce must provide evidence of the reasons for the divorce. Notably, the court will only approve a divorce once at least one year has passed after the couple’s separation.

Timeframe for completion of a divorce

Before the court enters a divorce decision, the divorce filing procedure in British Columbia might take up to three months. This timetable permits:

  • Time for the court to get a divorce clearance certificate from Ottawa.
  • Time for any delay intervals
  • Time required by the courts to finalize the divorce procedure


If no party appeals to the court’s decision to grant a divorce during the first 31 days after the order is issued, the divorce is considered to be final. The parties are free to remarry once the period of time has elapsed. If you are contemplating a divorce in British Columbia, an attorney from Sabharwal Law Group can safeguard your legal rights and help you through the process.