Most divorces are high stakes, with family relationships, child custody, finances and peace of mind all on the line.
This can be a stressful time but it is usually easier to navigate with the guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer.
If you’re based in the Duncan, BC area and need assistance with reaching a separation agreement that looks after your best interests – or you are filing for divorce and are expecting it to be contested – the divorce lawyers at Jennings Family Law can help.
With our knowledge of the divorce process and experience in and out of the courtroom handling divorce cases, you are in the best possible hands.
There are two main types of divorce in BC – uncontested divorces (sometimes called “desk order” divorces) and contested divorces that may end up in litigation.
Uncontested divorces are the ones that are not featured in the movies. There is no courtroom drama.
Instead, a separating couple reaches an agreement on all of the main aspects of the divorce out of court. The main issues generally include child support, child custody arrangements, spousal support and property/debt division.
This is the quickest, most efficient, and least stressful type of divorce. It may be possible if you and your spouse separate on amicable terms. No court appearance may even be necessary and the judge may simply sign the divorce order if everything is approved.
Contested divorces occur where the terms of divorce cannot be agreed upon and there are outstanding disputes – usually involving child custody, child support, spousal support, and/or property division/debts.
In these cases, collaboration between lawyers, mediation or arbitration is usually recommended to resolve disputes.
Most divorces do not go to trial but if these alternative strategies still cannot bring agreement, litigation is the likely outcome.
According to the Divorce Act, you need to meet certain criteria to qualify for a divorce in British Columbia:
To file for a divorce in Duncan, you will need a copy of your marriage certificate, which can be obtained through the Vital Statistics Agency.
Then you can either file for divorce yourself or using the services of a divorce lawyer.
To file yourself, obtain the relevant forms (Notice of Family Claim and Registration of Divorce Proceedings) from your local courthouse. Compete them and file them with the courthouse. This sounds easy but many people run into problems, which can cause long delays.
A lawyer can assist with this process, removing the stress of completing the paperwork and ensuring that the divorce proceeds smoothly.
Once the divorce papers have been served, you’ll need to wait for 30 days. If your ex does not respond, your divorce will proceed as an uncontested divorce.
Then you prepare and swear an affidavit for divorce. If you and your spouse have already prepared a separation agreement, this can be attached to the affidavit.
If you have dependent children, you will need to prepare and swear the affidavit for child support, which sets out the child support arrangements. Again, it’s best to attach the separation agreement to this and the court will need to approve the arrangements.
There are likely to be other forms to fill out and your lawyer can guide you with this.
Overall, it may take three months or more for the court to enter a final divorce judgment and for everything to be official – even if all your paperwork is in order and the judge is satisfied.
If you made mistakes with submitting the correct forms or child support arrangements are not adequate, it could take six months or longer.
The following filing fees are paid directly to the court when divorce documents are filed in BC:
Please note that if you file your application through one of our divorce lawyers, additional fees will apply.
A divorce in Duncan may be disputed for several reasons. Most commonly, these reasons are:
You or your spouse may also contest the divorce on the basis that there is hope for reconciliation and that the marriage is not irretrievably broken.
Legally, if you file for divorce on the grounds of separation with no possibility of reconciliation, you can be granted a divorce after a 12-month separation period, even if your ex doesn’t agree.
However, if there are outstanding issues relating to support, parenting or property division, the court may not grant you a divorce.
For instance, the Divorce Act stipulates that you must have a child support arrangement in place in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
It is generally in your best interests to resolve these matters as swiftly as possible.
It is common for there to be outstanding issues between separating or divorcing partners.
Litigation is not the only answer. Several alternative dispute resolution methods are available to help you resolve issues, depending largely on the relationship between you and your ex:
If none of these methods work, you will likely end up in court letting a judge decide. However, this only applies to a small minority of divorces in Duncan.
At Jennings Family Law, our divorce lawyers are committed to helping you achieve a prompt and favourable agreement with your spouse and helping you move on with your life.
Contact us today for a confidential consultation and case evaluation.