Divorce is something you may have to face in order to move on with your life.

You may imagine two divorce lawyers standing in a courtroom as you often see in TV dramas.

This happens much less frequently in real life.

There are two types of divorces in BC: Uncontested Divorce and Contested Divorce. Let me explain the differences between the two.


Getting a divorce in BC


Getting a divorce means that two people who are legally married are terminating their marriage.

If you want to get married again, you need to be legally divorced.

If you have children, it is mandatory to plan out a parenting schedule and a child support payment schedule.

You can decide how to divide assets, property and how much spousal support you or your spouse pay to one another, but this is not mandatory.

If you and your spouse have no children, no assets to divide and do not intend to pay spousal support to one another, you can begin filing for divorce without any financial obligation.

Lawyers recommend drafting the conditions, parenting plans and division of property in writing and creating a separation agreement signed by both parties.

In most cases, it is necessary to be separated from your spouse for more than one year by the time you obtain a divorce certificate.

However, this does not mean that you need to live separately from your spouse to be considered separated. You can be considered separated if you and your spouse are living together as roommates, for example.


My spouse and I were married outside of Canada.

Can I get a divorce in Vancouver?


A sad looking puppy wrapped in a brown blanket.

You can get divorced in BC even if you and your spouse were married outside of Canada, as long as one party has been living in British Columbia for more than one year.

The other party does not need to be resident of BC or Canada.


Contested divorce vs Uncontested divorce


In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree with the terms of the divorce and are cooperative throughout the process.

In a contested divorce, the parties are unable to resolve disagreements regarding the terms of the divorce by themselves.

The parties can then attempt to negotiate using legal counsel to state their positions in the Notice of Family Claim or Response to Family Claim that is filed in the Supreme Court.

The terms are usually about children, support and property. In some Asian countries, it is difficult to get divorced unless both parties agree.

In British Columbia, however, the other party cannot prevent a divorce by simply choosing not to agree or not to participate in the process.


An Uncontested divorce is often referred to as a “happy divorce”


We often call a uncontested divorce a “happy divorce” when we explain this concept to our clients.

This usually happens when both parties are “happy” to get divorced form each other.

Even if your spouse is not “happy” with the divorce, you can still achieve an uncontested divorce in certain circumstances.

Lawyers at Specht and Pryer can help you achieve an uncontested divorce so you do not need to go to court.

The cost for a lawyer is comparatively less for an uncontested divorce than for a contested divorce.


Contested divorce


When the other party files a Response to your Notice of Family Claim, this would be now be considered a contested divorce.

In these cases, the divorce will cost more time and money, and may also be a mentally exhausting process for you, as you may be required to appear in court.

If both parties disagree with the terms of the divorce and are unable to reach a settlement, it may be up to the Judge to decide the terms at trial or a hearing.

Our divorce consultations are available in English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Japanese. There is no additional fee for translation services used during our consultations.

Please call or email us to book an appointment.


SPECHT & PRYER Barristers / Solicitors
Suite 1150 – 789 West Pender Street | Vancouver, BC V6C 1H2
Office:604.681.2500 | Fax: 604.736.0118