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British Columbia family law: Grounds for divorce

Television and movies often make dramatic reference to "grounds for divorce", a list of infractions one or both spouses might commit that would establish legal precedent for the end of a marriage. Here in British Columbia, however, no such formal list exists. Certainly, family law precedents have given rise to the Divorce Act, which outlines scenarios such as adultery wherein a spouse might file for divorce. However, divorces are rarely filed under such clauses. 

Legally speaking, divorce is nothing more than formally declaring an end to a marriage. The associated division of property, child custody and other issues are not strictly covered under the Divorce Act. In addition, individuals who file for divorce are no longer covered under the Family Law Act of Canada, meaning their divorce proceedings could quickly get contentious. 

This is why it is advisable for a separation agreement of some type to be in place before the divorce is formally filed. There are many options for drafting such an agreement, from the archetypal court route to collaborative divorce to mediation. No divorce is the same, and the road a couple chooses to end their marriage must account for their individual and mutual circumstances. 

In any case, British Columbia residents filing for divorce have an array of family law support to choose from when approaching this major life decision. The assistance of experienced divorce attorneys can help cut through the complicated language associated with a separation agreement, and ensure such an agreement is in place prior to filing for divorce. No matter what grounds are chosen, those facing these issues can move forward confidently with professional support to their new single lives. 

Source:, "What's considered grounds for divorce in Canada?", Debbie Hartzman, Jan. 27, 2017

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