Whether you are thinking of taking the next step to start a future with your loved one or if you are facing the end of your relationship, you may require legal advice to ensure that your legal rights and interests are considered and protected. Focus Law provides legal advice on the different legal issues that may arise out of your domestic relationship. The legal services offered include:
Click on the subjects below for more information on:
- Cohabitation or Marriage Agreements
- Separation Agreements
Cohbitation or Marriage Agreement
Reasons for making a cohabitation or marriage agreement
Some of the reasons for making a cohabitation agreement or marriage agreement at the beginning or during a relationship are:
- to set out how property is to be shared during the relationship;
- how property is to be divided in the event that the relationship ends;
- to set out the parties intentions to enter into a marriage-like relationship and the rights and obligations arising from their relationship;
- to address issues with respect to child custody, access to children and child support;
- to address issues with respect to spousal support; and
- to record the reasons, intentions and expectations of the parties with respect to their roles during the relationship. This may be particularly important when parties are entering into later-in life relationships, or where one spouse has significantly more assets than the other, or where the relationship involves blended families.
Benefits of making a cohabitation or marriage agreement
A cohabitation or marriage agreement will set out an ordered method of dealing with issues of child support, spousal support, and the division of property. Setting out the intentions and expectations of the parties in a cohabitation or marriage agreement may help avoid potentially expensive and lengthy disputes upon the breakdown of a relationship.
A cohabitation or marriage agreement is subject to the discretion of the court to review and vary the agreement for fairness. In the event of a dispute, the court will consider whether the parties took into account the events that ultimately unfolded in their relationship; the existence of an agreement will then serve as evidence of the parties intentions.
Reasons for making a separation agreement
Some of the reasons for making a separation agreement upon the breakdown of a marriage or a common-law relationship are:
- set out how property is to be divided;
- address issues with respect to child custody, access to children and child support; and
- address issues with respect to spousal support.
Grounds for divorce
The Divorce Act provides three grounds for obtaining a divorce:
- parties living separate and apart for at least one year; or
- adultery; or
- physical or mental cruelty.
Applying for a divorce in British Columbia
The Supreme Court of British Columbia can grant a divorce only if one of the spouses has been ordinarily resident in British Columbia for at least one year before the commencement of proceedings.
Your options for obtaining a divorce
Uncontested divorce - Desk Order Divorce
When is a desk order divorce available?
A desk order divorce is available when a divorce is undefended from the outset, where the spouses are bringing a joint action for divorce, or where the divorce is not contested and all other contested claims have been settled or otherwise disposed of.
A desk order divorce application is submitted to the British Columbia Supreme Court Registry for review to ensure that the required documents are in order. The application is then submitted to a judge to make the order with respect to the divorce, and other relief sought.
An application for a desk order divorce will be rejected by the Court Registry if the required documents are not in order.
You have a contested divorce if your spouse contests the divorce or if you and your spouse have not settled issues with respect to the division of property, spousal support, child support, and child custody.
Page last updated on: July 27, 2011.