When you’re facing a divorce, it pays to have the most experienced family lawyers on your side. The team at Merchant Law has decades of experience helping with the division of assets, child custody, child support, spousal support, and access issues of every kind.
We also tackle all of the other issues associated with family law, including prenuptial agreements, elder care guardianship arrangements, and adoption.
How long does it take to get a divorce in British Columbia?
First, you need to have been legally separated for at least one year to start the process, or be able to prove that your spouse engaged in acts of adultery or cruelty against you. Once you start the actual divorce process, it can take anywhere from three to 18 months depending on the specific facts of your case.
This does not mean you’ll have to spend all that time without a child support or access schedule. Judges will usually put interim orders into place, temporary arrangements that can keep the family’s affairs running smoothly until the divorce can be finalized.
Do I need a separation agreement to get a divorce in British Columbia?
No. All that is required is for you to live apart for 12 months.
However, a separation agreement is a very good idea. This agreement will basically allow you to tackle all the major issues of a divorce while you are waiting to start the divorce process, ensuring that child support, spousal support, and issues of access can be dealt with.
If you have a common law marriage that you’re dissolving a separation agreement is basically the only way to enforce any agreements you come to about how to divide your assets. A formal separation agreement will become the binding agreement that governs your child support and child custody arrangements as well.
It is never a good idea to draft a separation agreement without a lawyer’s help. Often these temporary arrangements become the basis for future arrangements even when you’re dissolving a traditional marriage. Make sure the separation agreement isn’t too one-sided by having one of our family law lawyers review it thoroughly for you.
How do I start a divorce proceeding in BC?
Your lawyer will file a Notice of Family Claim with the court, and a copy will be served on your spouse. Your spouse will have a certain amount of time to respond. The Claim is essentially your initial settlement offer, so make sure your lawyer crafts it carefully for you.
If your spouse doesn’t respond then the divorce becomes uncontested and proceeds according to the terms laid out in your claim. The judge will turn these terms into your official divorce decree.
If your spouse does respond then you will need to begin the process of trying to negotiate a divorce settlement. While a judge must ultimately approve any divorce arrangements, not every family case proceeds to court. Usually, settlement is more favorable to both parties.
Why Merchant Law
Our lawyers have been practicing family law for decades, and have even had many opinions on family law published in prestigious law reviews. We’re responsive, kind, caring lawyers who are ready to look out for you and your interest as you seek to dissolve your marriage.
To get started, call (604) 535-7777 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation, or visit our office at 63337 198 St #101, Langley City, BC.