Divorce is the legal proceeding which terminates the marriage. Although spouses may be living separately for many years, they remain legally married until a Divorce Order legally ends the marriage.
Not all spouses seek to become divorced. If neither party intends to remarry, and neither spouse needs the ultimate closure that a Certificate of Divorce provides, spouses can continue to live separate and apart indefinitely, provided that they understand the legal consequences of doing so.
Should you decide to file for divorce, you may begin the process at any time. Divorce can be filed as a Sole Claim or a Joint Claim. It is not necessary for you to have consulted a Mediator, sought legal advice, or have a separation agreement in order to file for divorce.
You will require an original certificate of marriage and one spouse must be a resident of British Columbia for a period of 1 year or more.
The process starts with a Notice of Family Claim filed in the Supreme Court of B.C. and this form can be filed at any time after separation.
The supporting forms, which will include a Desk Order Affidavit for each spouse, a Child Support Affidavit for each spouse (if there are Children of the Marriage) can be filed after 1 year from the separation date.
Free divorce forms are available at http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/courts/other/supreme/2010SupRules/info/index_family.htm
Some couples feel that the Memorandum of Understanding or Resolution Plan is adequate post-separation planning as both spouses recognize that adhering to the decisions made during the settlement negotiation is paramount, and agree to honour the terms, even if not bound to do so with an executed contract.
It is important to note that not all families require a Separation Agreement; such a comprehensive document is most suited for couples with assets and debts, children and spousal maintenance plans. In some cases, it may be more appropriate to execute a Parenting Agreement or Spousal Support Agreement only.
Divorce Coaching for Couples
The Burnaby Deer Lake Law Group will work with couples who have completed mediation or have otherwise reached consensus on all issues, and draft an Agreement for both spouses.
Divorce Coaching ensures that both spouses understand their legal rights and responsibilities, as both parties work towards a fair settlement with the support of the Divorce Coach. Please note that the Divorce Coach, although a Family Lawyer, is unable to provide Independent Legal Advice to either spouse.
Parties are encouraged to seek Independent Legal Advice as part of the Divorce Coaching and to provide additional feedback the Divorce Coach/ Family Lawyer.
Antonio Simoes, Lisa Sirlin, Andrew Rebane and Kate Lee, Barristers & Solicitors, specialize in the area of Family Law. Do you have questions about your separation and divorce, child support and parenting, spousal support or pre-nuptial agreement? Call us today!