Separating Or Getting Divorced Is No Different For LGBT Couples

British Columbia and Vancouver in particular have had a long history of tolerance and acceptance of people of various backgrounds and identities. For more than decade, those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender have had the legal right to get married, giving them all the privileges and responsibilities of being a spouse. Consequently, the law also provides these spouses with the same protections as heterosexual couples in divorce.

Westside Family Law helps families of all kinds throughout Vancouver and the Lower Mainland overcome significant legal challenges. We know that the issues you face are no different when it comes to property division, custody (if you have children) and financial support. Our lawyers offer comprehensive and efficient guidance for you throughout the process.

Clearing Up Confusion About Canada's Family Laws

Prior to 2005, the federal Divorce Act defined "spouse" as either a man or a woman who is married to someone of the opposite sex. Thus, there is still some confusion about whether LGBT couples can legally "divorce," though separation has always been an option.

British Columbia was one of the first provinces to grant same-sex divorce in spite of the Divorce Act, ruling that the law was discriminatory. In 2005, Parliament passed the Civil Marriage Act. This law not only granted same-sex marriages across Canada, but also amended the Divorce Act so that it defined "spouse" as anyone who is married to another person.

Therefore, if you wish to end your marriage to a same-sex partner, you have the same rights and protections as anyone else. Our lawyers can help you through the separation process and then in filing for divorce in the BC Superior Court.

U.S. Cross-Border Divorce Is No Longer Necessary

When the Civil Marriage Act passed, many couples travelled to BC to finally get married, including many couples from the U.S., where gay marriage was still illegal. Until recently, LGBT couples also needed to return to BC to get divorced because their marriages were not legally recognized at home.

This is no longer the case. In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal law banning same-sex marriage. Therefore, if you are American and were married in BC, you no longer need to return to BC to get divorced. You may take full advantage of the family laws within your own jurisdiction.

Qualified Help With International Divorce

Of course, if you live in a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is not legally recognized, we can assist you in getting divorced here in BC. The Civil Marriage Act allows couples whose marriages are not legally recognized to return here to get divorced provided that:

  • You have lived separate and apart for at least one year.
  • Neither of you live in Canada now.
  • Both of you live in a state where your marriage is not legally recognized.

We invite you to get in touch with our office by calling 604-800-8853 to discuss your particular concerns about the same-sex divorce process.