Everything you do during the divorce process has an impact on your personal and financial life moving forward. It takes solid legal acumen to protect your rights and interests during this emotionally fraught time.
While ideally you and your ex will be able to use legal guidance to come up with a fair settlement that is a win-win for both of you, it’s important to be ready to take your divorce case all the way to trial. When that happens, you’ll want some tough litigators in your corner. Look no further than the family law team at Merchant Law, with years of experience helping Surrey residents prevail.
Meeting the Requirements of BC Divorce Law
Every divorce must be approved by the British Columbia Supreme Court, even if both you and your spouse want the divorce and have come to an agreement about all the major issues of the divorce. While that approval can be a quick, simple formality this will only happen if you have met all of the province’s requirement for a divorce.
If you can prove adultery or cruelty, then you can divorce at any time. Proving either is often more difficult than it sounds.
Most couples just choose to live in a state of separation for one year. In British Columbia you do not have to move to separate domiciles to achieve a separation. You can stay in the marital home if a clear intent to separate permanently has been communicated and acted upon. Since leaving the marital home prior to the finalization of the divorce settlement can put you at a disadvantage, it’s wise to seek legal help at this stage so you can both meet the requirements and remain where you are.
Defended vs. Undefended Divorces
An “undefended divorce” is one in which both parties have agreed on how to handle all the major issues of the divorce. These include:
- Division of marital assets.
- Division of marital debts.
- Spousal support payments.
- Child support payments.
- Child custody & access.
Keep in mind the court will require child support payments to be made, and they will have to be in line with the Federal Child Support Guidelines. If you wish to lower the support burden and put together a custody arrangement that’s likely to be best for your kids absent any abuse, consider a 50/50 joint physical and legal custody arrangement, and then ask us how to set up a set-off child support payment the judge will accept.
If you do manage an undefended divorce you will receive a desk-order divorce, which means a family court judge will sign off on it after verifying it meets all the legal requirements.
In a defended divorce, the divorcing spouses are unable to come to an agreement about one or more of these issues. At that point the case will go to trial. While this is not the ideal outcome, it is a potential one. You’ll want the toughest representation you can find to make sure the outcome of your divorce trial is one you can live with.
British Columbia High-Net Worth Divorces
The divorces most likely to proceed to trial in BC are high net-worth divorces. And here in Surrey, there are plenty of high net-worth households to go around. It’s listed as one of Canada’s Top 100 richest places, with an average net worth of $696,991.
Why are these divorces so contentious?
The assets are usually more intricate and complex. The stakes are a lot higher too. A bad divorce settlement leaves both parties with a lot more to lose. This fear tends to drive some people to make bad decisions, like attempting to hide assets.
While it’s not impossible to get an undefended divorce when your net worth is high, it’s not a good thing to count on.
With offices across Western Canada, the team at Merchant Law has been helping with these kinds of divorces for decades. We understand the issues involved, the way to achieve a great outcome, and the pitfalls to look out for. We can give you the steady guidance you’ll need to navigate your way through this difficult time.
How to Get Help
Set up an appointment by calling (604) 609-7777, or stop by 303-304 15127 100th Avenue Vancouver, Surrey, BC V3R 0N9. There is no charge for your initial consultation.