When can you get a divorce? | BC - Surrey - Zukerman Law

The Process of Divorce in Surrey, BC

Living in Surrey, BC and navigating the legalities of divorce? You’re not alone. Many couples choose to end their marriages each year, and the process can feel overwhelming. But fear not! This blog post will be your guide to understanding the steps involved in getting a divorce in Surrey, BC.

Whether you’re considering an uncontested divorce, where you and your spouse agree on everything, or a contested divorce, which involves working through disagreements in court, we’ll break down the process into manageable steps. Let’s get started on understanding the process of divorce in Surrey, BC.

Note: Understanding the complexities of divorce can be overwhelming. If you’re facing a divorce in Surrey, BC, the experienced family law team in Zukerman Law Group can help. We understand the emotional and legal challenges involved and will guide you through every step of the process.  Our team can answer your questions, address your concerns, and advocate for your best interests. Contact Zukerman Law Group today for a consultation.

Steps Involved in Getting a Divorce in Surrey, BC

Steps Involved in Getting a Divorce in Surrey, BC

Divorce is a legal process where a married couple dissolves their marriage. In Surrey, BC, specific procedures must be followed for divorce. Understanding the process is crucial for those considering it. Here’s an overview of the steps involved in getting a divorce in Surrey, BC.

1- Filing for Divorce

You’ll start by filing a Notice of Family Claim in the Supreme Court registry. This document informs the court of your intention to divorce and can also request rulings on child custody, support payments, and division of property.

Once filed, you need to serve your spouse with the Notice of Family Claim and an affidavit of service. This affidavit, completed by someone over 19 other than yourself, confirms your spouse has received the documents.

After serving the Notice, a mandatory 30-day waiting period (cooling-off period) begins before you can proceed with the actual divorce application. This period allows for potential reconciliation.

2- Serving Divorce Papers

In order to initiate a divorce, it is necessary to serve your spouse with the divorce papers, either through a trusted mutual acquaintance or a professional process server. If you have hired an attorney, they can arrange for service. If your spouse is evading service, the court may grant the ability to forgo this step if it is proven impossible to achieve service. 

After the documents are served, your spouse has a certain time to respond, and if they do not respond within that time frame, you can proceed with the divorce without their input. 

If your spouse contests the divorce, you must negotiate a settlement, which can be done with the advice of a family law lawyer, their skilled legal correspondence, experienced court representation, and astute mediation advocacy. Once a settlement is reached, it must be approved by the court before the divorce can be finalized.

3- Filing a Response

Your spouse will have 30 days from the date of service to file a response to the divorce papers. If they don’t file a response, you can move forward with the divorce without their consent.

If your spouse files for divorce and you disagree, you can contest it with legal counsel. The court hearing will determine whether or not the divorce is granted.

If minor children are involved, a separate hearing addresses custody, parenting responsibilities, and visitation. The judge prioritizes the children’s best interests in their decision.

Following the judge’s decisions, you’ll file the final paperwork with the court, concluding the divorce and allowing you both to move forward.

4- Applying for a Divorce Order

To apply for a divorce order, you must submit an affidavit stating that you and your spouse have been living apart for at least 12 months and there is no reasonable likelihood of reconciling. The judge will issue the order, which will become effective one month after its date.

5- Attending a Divorce Hearing

After submitting your application, you must attend a divorce hearing where the judge will decide if the divorce is granted. If granted, you must sign a divorce decree, which will be filed with the court and you are officially divorced.

Uncontested divorces usually don’t require a hearing. However, if there are disagreements needing a judge’s ruling, a court appearance might be necessary.

6- Obtaining a Divorce Order

The Supreme Court can grant a divorce if you meet the following requirements:

  • Residency: You or your spouse must have lived in BC for at least one year.
  • Marriage Breakdown: Proof of marriage breakdown is necessary.
  • Child Arrangements: Satisfactory plans must be in place for any children, including child support.

Even for couples who agree on everything (divorce, parenting, support, property division), a court grant is required for a divorce. They can file jointly for a faster and cheaper uncontested divorce, which avoids serving the other spouse.

A divorce can also be uncontested if one spouse doesn’t respond after being served.

Uncontested divorces may seem simpler, but it’s crucial to consult a family law attorney (not a general practitioner) before signing a separation agreement to ensure your interests are protected.  This helps avoid future issues and potential legal battles.

7- Finalizing the Divorce

A divorce in Surrey, BC, requires a court order, which can be applied at any time after separation. However, a divorce is only granted after at least one year of separation. 

If you have minor children, you must have filed a parenting plan outlining responsibilities, visitation, and child support. 

After filing the paperwork, you must attend a hearing where a judge decides on the divorce. After 31 days, the court automatically grants a final order if no appeal is filed. Remarriage can only occur after the 31 day period has passed. 

To obtain a divorce certificate, you must contact the court registry where the divorce was filed. The fee for obtaining a certificate is $40.00 in person and $10.00 for mailing. Getting a divorce in Surrey, BC, can be complex and time-consuming, so it’s essential to understand all the steps involved. If you have any questions, consult with a lawyer or other legal professional. Zukerman Law Group can help navigate the divorce process and protect your rights.


Divorce can be a difficult journey, but understanding the process in Surrey, BC, can empower you to navigate it with more clarity. Remember, you don’t have to go through this alone. The compassionate and experienced family law team at Zukerman Law Group is here to answer your questions, address your concerns, and advocate for your best interests throughout the entire process. Contact Zukerman Law Group today for a consultation.


1- What is the timeline for divorce in Canada?

In general, a simple or uncontested divorce takes four to six months to complete. Divorce is a difficult legal process with many practical and emotional obstacles.

2- How quickly can you get divorced in BC?

After you separate, you can file for a divorce with the court at any time; however, the divorce cannot be granted until you have been separated for at least one year.

3- What is a silent divorce?

Silent divorce, also called emotional divorce, is when a couple drifts apart emotionally.  They may still live together but lack intimacy and connection, essentially becoming roommates. It can be just as damaging as a legal separation.


Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.