Divorce & Separation

To get a divorce in BC, you have to apply to the Supreme Court. The court will give you a divorce if you or your spouse has lived in BC for at least one year and you can show that your marriage has broken down.

You will have to be able to show the court that:

  • you have lived apart -- been separated -- for at least one year, or
  • one of you committed adultery, or
  • one of you was physically and/or mentally cruel to the other.

If you need a divorce, it is simpler and less expensive to get orders regarding custody, access, guardianship and/or support first in Provincial Court. Then, you can apply to the Supreme Court only for a divorce and to settle property issues. Learn more about divorce and separation…

BC Ministry of Justice: Provides a range of services related to family law. With specific reference to family law and the Supreme Court, they publish: Court Forms, Court Rules and Court Fees.

Family Justice Counsellors: These are are accredited family mediators who are specially trained to help parents settle issues relating to guardianship, parenting time and child support. They also provide emotional support and short-term counselling. Services are available throughout the province at 30+ Family Justice Centres and Justice Access Centres. A service of the BC Ministry of Justice.

Legal Services Society: This organization is the go-to source of information on family law matters in BC. In addition to providing Legal Aid, they publish the Family Law Website and these great resources:

Family Duty Counsel: These are lawyers paid by Legal Services Society to help people with low incomes deal with their family law problems. If you have a family law issue, you may qualify for help from family duty counsel in Provincial or Supreme Court even if you don't qualify for a legal aid lawyer. Duty counsel can give you advice and speak on your behalf in court on simple matters. However, they won't take on your whole case and won't represent you at a trial. They can also attend family case conferences at some courts. Duty counsel may be able to help you even if you're not financially eligible.

Dial-A-Law: Family Law: This service is provided by the Canadian Bar Association. It includes online text, as well as recorded audio scripts that can be heard by calling their phone number. To listen to Dial-A-Law scripts, call 604.687.4680 in the Lower Mainland or 1.800.565.5297 in British Columbia. Once you are connected, press “1” for English | press “2” for Chinese. Dial-A-Law is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Specific topics include: Separation and Separation Agreements and Desk Order Divorce.