If the spouses are able to communicate in a civil manner and to negotiate a settlement for even some (if not all) of their issues, they have access to what we often refer to as a “Desk Order Divorce”. This is usually a joint application for divorce made by the parties.
This process involves filling out the required paperwork and swearing supporting affidavits then filing the material at the nearest Supreme Court Registry. For divorcing couples with children, the court must be satisfied with the arrangements that the parties have made for the support of their children, otherwise the divorce order will not be made until the court is provided with additional and sufficient evidence to achieve the “satisfaction” requirement. If the court is satisfied and the parties have met the other requirements for a divorce in B.C., i.e. lived separate and apart for at least one year, one party has been ordinarily resident in BC for at least one year, and they can swear that there has been no collusion, no connivance, no condonation, and no prospect of reconciliation, the divorce order will likely be granted.
A joint application is obviously the simplest and least expensive route to a divorce order but it is not always available. If one spouse refuses to participate or is holding the divorce over the other spouse’s head to bargain for support or a greater share of the family assets (to name just two instances when I have seen this happen), the process will take longer and the parties will likely require some assistance from a divorce or family law lawyer.
The desk order procedure has improved what was once a cumbersome process so that people who no longer should be tied together by marriage, can go their separate ways and move on with their lives whenever possible and without the high cost in time, money and energy that a court battle will require. Most marriage breakdowns are very painful for those involved but at least with the no fault approach to divorce, the process itself can be relatively pain-free in both emotional and economic terms.
If you have questions about your situation, your rights and obligations or the separation and divorce process, please give us a call or drop us an email.