Is an uncontested divorce right for me?

A couple in British Columbia may choose to go through an undefended divorce in certain situations. An undefended divorce, which is also known as an uncontested divorce, is a divorce where matters such as spousal support, child custody and the division of property have already been agreed. This may be an option if the couple have been separated for a year or more and one of the spouses will reside in British Columbia throughout the divorce and was a resident of the province for at least a year before the divorce began.

However, there are several situations when an uncontested divorce is not appropriate. If the grounds for divorce include cruelty or adultery, or if one of the spouses does not wish to divorce, an uncontested divorce may not be suitable. An uncontested divorce will also become impractical, if complications arise or negotiations over marital assets, support or child custody become contentious.

Claims involving spousal support or marital property may be made after an uncontested divorce has become final, but such claims must be made no later than two years after the date of the divorce. Couples may seek to avoid this kind of dispute by filing a separation agreement before pursuing an uncontested divorce.

Couples who decide to divorce often wish to put the process behind them as quickly as possible so that they may move on with their lives. While these feelings may be understandable, a hasty approach when dealing with legal matters could have unfortunate consequences. An experienced family law lawyer may be able to offer advice about situations where an uncontested divorce may be adequate, but they could also counsel those considering such an option regarding the legal rights they may be surrendering in return for simplicity and a quick resolution.

Source: Family Law in British Columbia, “How to do your own undefended (uncontested) divorce“, Nov. 11, 2014

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