Clear Answers To Common Questions About Divorce And Separation

Many resources regarding separation and divorce are available online and in print. Here are some answers to questions our lawyers frequently hear:

If my spouse moves out, does that mean we're 'separated'?

Technically, yes. Living separate and apart, provided that at least one of you wishes to permanently separate, is just that — living separate and apart. In terms of the law, you could live separate and apart and still live in the same house, provided you in fact are "separated," as in no spousal relationship, so that you do not share finances, a bedroom or social activities.

If you are married, however, you will still be "married" according to the Divorce Act until you file for and receive a Court order of divorce from the BC Supreme Court. Furthermore, if you want to divide shared property or debt or file for spousal support, you will need to resolve those issues by agreement or through Court.

What's the difference between separation and divorce?

As described above, separation simply means you and your spouse decide to split up and go your separate ways. At this point, many couples choose to negotiate a separation agreement so that it's clear who gets what and what each party's responsibilities are.

Filing for divorce has a few further requirements. You must have:

  • Lived separate and apart for at least one year (so make note of the date you separate!)
  • Proof of your marriage (your marriage license or certificate)

You are not legally divorced until you have a divorce order from the Court. Our firm can explain your rights and walk you through each of these steps.

Do I need to have grounds for divorce?

Most people seek no-fault divorces, meaning either one or both parties agree that the relationship is over and there is no possibility of reconciliation. However, fault-based divorces still happen, usually for reasons such as abuse or cruelty, infidelity or claims that the marriage was never legal in the first place (for a variety of potential reasons). In fault-based cases, the required period of separation does not apply.

Will I have to go to Court?

While most cases can be resolved outside of Court, some will require nothing less than a Court order from a judge to resolve. As experienced trial lawyers, we are fully prepared to represent your interests before the judge, working efficiently and effectively to resolve your case. Learn more about going to Court here.

More Questions?

We are always available to answer your questions, especially during the course of your divorce. We place a premium on keeping our clients informed throughout every step of their cases. Call us at 604-800-8853 to speak with one of our Vancouver family lawyers. You may also send us an email with your inquiry using our online contact form.