While Canada’s divorce rate has declined in recent years, approximately four out of every ten marriages will still end in divorce. Divorce is a fact of life for many Canadians, yet our understanding of the process is still extremely low. In this blog, we’re going to take the opportunity to discuss five important things you need to know about the divorce process in British Columbia.
How Does the Divorce Process Work in British Columbia?
Every divorce in British Columbia needs to be approved by the province’s Supreme Court. Before the decision will be granted, you will have to demonstrate one of the following to the court:
- You have lived apart – been separated – for at least one year
- One of you committed adultery
- One of you was physically and/or mentally cruel to the other
Once you have satisfied one of the above criteria, you can proceed to apply for a divorce. This divorce can be a contested divorce, or an uncontested divorce. The difference is simple. A contested divorce signifies a disagreement between the two parties, while an uncontested (amicable divorce) is typically a more straightforward legal issue. Approximately 80 per cent of divorces in Canada are uncontested divorces.
Explaining the Contested Divorce Process
It’s a common misconception that the term “contested divorce” means one of the parties doesn’t want to get divorced. Instead, it means that both partners want the divorce, they just can’t agree on some outstanding legal issues. Here are some common scenarios that cause a contested divorce:
- Parenting, guardianship, or custody over pets
- Child or spousal support following the divorce
- How to divide property and debt
How are Disagreements Resolved?
At this juncture, several options exist to resolve the impasse. The worst-case scenario is to ultimately have a judge decide. However, this process can be drawn out, stressful and damaging if any children are involved. Before it reaches that point, here are several options that are available to you.
Work it out together – If communication lines between the two parties are open, a lot of disputes can be settled by sitting down together and talking it over. An honest and frank discussion, where both parties are open to compromise, can often yield results.
Work with a mediator – a mediator is a neutral third-party who is trained to facilitate impactful conversations between two parties in disagreement.
Talk to a lawyer – the divorce process is fraught with potential legal issues. The team at Westside Family Law understands the divorce process implicitly and can offer sound legal advice and representation at this difficult time.
How Much Does a Divorce Cost in British Columbia?
In British Columbia, it costs $210 to file the first documents ($200 filing fee, plus $10 for a Registration of Divorce), and then $80 to file your Final Application. The Certificate of Divorce will cost another $40, although this document is only necessary if you plan to remarry.
How Much are the Legal Fees for a Divorce?
As each case is unique, it’s impossible to give a definitive answer to this question. However, there are some figures that are appropriate to use as a guideline. According to Canadian Lawyer’s 2018 Legal Fee survey the average legal fees for an uncontested divorce are $1,400-$1,600, while a contested divorce averages at $7,500-$12,500.
Find Out More
Interested in discussing your legal options surrounding divorce? Our expert team is standing by to assist. Contact us and we’ll be happy to help!