Going through a divorce isn’t easy. It is a long process that involves several different steps. 

So, how long does a divorce take in BC? 

The answer to this question can vary dramatically. The grounds for the divorce, whether it’s contested or uncontested, and many more factors come into play. Understanding all of these factors helps give a more accurate picture of the length of time the divorce will require.

How Long a Divorce Takes in BC

Uncontested divorces can take anywhere from a few months to about a year. Meanwhile, contested divorces may take longer.

These timelines assume the process goes relatively smoothly. To make this more likely, you can work with experienced lawyers like those at Pier Law & Mediation. We can help you navigate through a divorce in a way that works for you. 

Meeting the Conditions for Divorce

A divorce in British Columbia isn’t allowed unless you are eligible. To be eligible: 

  • One party must have lived in BC for a year.
  • One party must still be living in BC throughout the entire process.
  • There must be arrangements for any children involved.

Grounds For Divorce

In British Columbia, grounds for divorce can stem from three categories, all of which revolve around proving the breakdown of the marriage. The category the divorce falls into will impact the length of the divorce proceedings. 

  • Separation: A couple living separately, even within the same home, is eligible for divorce after one year. 
  • Adultery: In a divorce stemming from adultery, one party will need to prove the adultery in court. It is possible for this to take over a year, so many choose to simply separate for a year instead. 
  • Physical/mental cruelty: Like a divorce stemming from adultery, one party will need to prove the cruelty. Since this may take over a year, many choose to separate instead. 

Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce

Once a couple meets the conditions and grounds for divorce, they can proceed. The actual divorce process starts with filing a Notice of Family Claim

The two types of divorce, contested and uncontested, have a dramatic impact on the answer to the question, “How long does a divorce take in BC?” An uncontested divorce, otherwise known as a desk order divorce, is typically faster.  

Uncontested Divorce

For an uncontested divorce, both parties can come together to file the divorce, or one party can file on their own. 

If only one party files, the other party has 30 days to respond. If they don’t respond, the divorce continues. If they do respond, the divorce becomes contested. 

Filing together is the faster option. With this, there is no 30-day waiting period, and the divorce proceedings start immediately. 

An uncontested divorce generally takes around two to four months. 

Contested Divorce

A contested divorce often takes far longer. A contested divorce typically involves settlement negotiations, mediation, an overview of financial statements, and days in court. There may even be a trial. 

As such, it can last anywhere from a few months to a few years. The exact time ultimately depends on how long it takes for the couple to reach an agreement. 

Other Factors

The answer to “How long does a divorce take in BC?” relies on a few other factors. 

  • Paperwork: Filling out the paperwork is complicated and can take multiple revisions without expertise. 
  • Deciphering the process: Knowing what to do and navigating divorce misconceptions is tricky. If you make a mistake, it can result in rejected applications. 
  • Remarriage: The court order for divorce takes 31 days to go into effect, preventing remarriage until that time.

Looking for help with the British Columbia divorce process? Give Pier Law & Mediation a call today at (604) 359-3159 or contact us online.

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