An uncontested divorce refers to a situation where both spouses mutually agree to end their marriage and are in agreement regarding the key issues related to the divorce, such as the division of property, parenting time, child support, and spousal support.
There is no need for a trial or a court hearing because the couple has resolved all their issues outside of court.
In British Columbia, Canada, the laws governing divorce are primarily outlined in two key statutes: the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act. The Divorce Act is a federal law that governs divorce and related issues, while the Family Law Act is a provincial law that deals with various aspects of family law, including divorce.
To obtain an uncontested divorce in British Columbia, the following steps are generally followed:
Jurisdiction: Ensure that you meet the jurisdictional requirements for divorce in British Columbia. One of the spouses must have been a resident of the province for at least one year before commencing the divorce proceedings.
Separation: The Divorce Act requires a period of separation before filing for divorce. You and your spouse must have lived separate and apart for at least one year, with no chance of reconciliation. The Family Law Act also recognizes separation as a factor in determining the division of property and support.
Grounds for Divorce: Under the Divorce Act, the only ground for divorce is the "breakdown of the marriage." This can be established by living separately and apart for at least one year. No-fault divorce is recognized in Canada, so reasons for the breakdown of the marriage do not need to be proven.
Drafting a Separation Agreement: Both spouses need to agree on the terms of the divorce, including child custody, child support, spousal support, and division of property. It is advisable to draft a comprehensive separation agreement that outlines these terms and is signed by both parties. This agreement should adhere to the provisions of the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act.
Filing the Divorce Application: Once the separation agreement is drafted, one spouse (referred to as the "applicant") can file a divorce application with the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Along with the application, you will need to submit the required documents, including the separation agreement.
Waiting Period: After filing the application, there is a waiting period of 31 days. This waiting period allows time for the other spouse (referred to as the "respondent") to respond or raise any objections to the divorce.
Finalizing the Divorce: If no objections are raised within the waiting period, the court may grant a divorce judgment. The divorce is considered final when the court issues a divorce order, which legally ends the marriage.