How to File for Separation in BC

Your relationship has ended and you wish to separate. You may be wondering how to file for separation in BC.

Live Separate & Apart

Well in BC there is no legal requirement to file for separation with a court. Separation is a question of fact. Are you living separate and apart from your spouse? If the answer is yes I am living a separate life from my spouse, then you are separated. Living separate does not necessarily mean that you are living in a different home than your spouse. It does however mean that you are staying in different rooms, and are not living as a couple. You must be living two separate lives, even if you are in the same house. There is no legal requirement to file for separation in BC to indicate that you are separated.

Provide Evidence

However, a problem may occur if you and your spouse differ as to which date you actually separated. If you wish to avoid this situation, then simply commencing court proceedings or just sending your spouse an email or letter indicating that you are separating from them may be sufficient to determine the date of separation.

Also, a third party such as a creditor or Canada Revenue Agency may require evidence that you are separated. They may not take you and your spouse’s word that you are separated. As you can imagine some couples can state they are separated because it may result in a beneficial outcome for them to do so even though they are not. As such, these third parties may require a signed separation agreement or a declaration from a court that you are separated.

Make a Separation Agreement

A separation agreement is an agreement that both you and your spouse sign that describes how you will deal with the issues resulting from the breakup of your relationship. Some of these issues can be property division, spousal support, parenting issues, child support etc. The separation agreement can be negotiated through different processes such as direct lawyer negotiations, mediation, or collaborative divorce. The separation agreement will provide the necessary evidence to establish that you are separated and when. A separation agreement is an important document, and if drafted incorrectly it could cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees should it be litigated in court. As such, it is important to use a qualified lawyer to draft your separation agreement. Using an online separation agreement template may save you a couple of dollars initially, however, it will end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Remember, one of the primary reasons to have a separation agreement is to establish certainty on how things are going to be dealt with going forward so you can get on with your life. The last thing you want after negotiating a separation agreement is to find yourself in court. Lawyers make more money litigating poorly written agreements than they do by writing separation agreements themselves.

To conclude, there is no legal requirement to file for separation in BC and there is no such thing as a legal separation in BC. If you are living separate and apart from your spouse, then you are separated.

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