Posted on December 29, 2013 · Posted in Blog

Just the Divorce Papers, Please

The total cost of a simple, uncontested divorce in British Columbia is $290 – if you do it yourself. However, that’s easier said than done! Here are the steps.

Cost of divorce in British Columbia

Starting the Action

The divorce is started by filing a “Notice of Family Claim” in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Ten dollars of the $210.00 original filing fee includes a form which is sent to the Ottawa Divorce Registry. This Registration of Divorce Proceedings form is filed to make sure neither spouse has started a divorce proceeding in Canada.

A government issued Marriage Certificate is filed at the same time. Note: The registry will not accept the church-issued form.

It usually takes from 6 to 8 weeks for the Clearance Certificate to be sent back to the Court Registry where the divorce proceedings began.

A Sole or Joint Application

You and your spouse can file jointly and be Claimants 1 and 2, in which case you save the cost of a Process Server. You or your spouse also have an option to file a sole application. In the latter case, the person who begins the divorce is called the Claimant.

The other spouse, the Respondent, is served the Notice of Family Claim. The Claimant can’t serve the Respondent but must arrange for a process server or some other person over the age of nineteen to serve the Respondent.

The server then swears or confirms an Affidavit of Service which is filed with the Court later. The Respondent does not have to sign any papers when served but he/she has to provide proof of identity unless known personally to the person serving the documents. Once the Process Server swears/confirms the affidavit, the affidavit is only good for 30 days.

Filing the Last Set of Documents

When thirty days has elapsed since the Respondent was served and the Clearance Certificate is back from Ottawa, and no Response or Counterclaim has been filed, the Claimant proceeds by filing the last of the documents:

  1. A Requisition,
  2. An Affidavit of Service,
  3. A Desk Order Divorce Affidavit,
  4. A Child Support Affidavit if children are involved,
  5. The Registrar’s Certificate of Pleadings declaring all documents are in order, and
  6. A draft Final Order for Divorce

When the required documents are filed, the Court Registry takes a final $80 and they are sent to a judge or magistrate for final approval.

Once the order is signed, there is one last waiting period. Thirty-one days after the the Divorce Order was signed, you are divorced!

Divorce Certificate

To obtain your divorce certificate, you will need to contact the Supreme Court registry where your divorce was filed. Registry staff at the court location you contact will be able to assist you with your questions. The cost for a BC divorce certificate is $40 Canadian.
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