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How to Get a Divorce in BC as a Canadian Citizen Married in the Philippines

Ending a marriage is often a complex and emotional process, made even more complicated when the marriage took place in another country. If you’re a Canadian citizen residing in British Columbia and married in the Philippines, you may be wondering how to initiate the divorce process. This blog post aims to guide you through the procedure.

Step 1: Confirm Your Eligibility for Divorce in BC

Before you start, confirm your eligibility for a divorce in BC. As a Canadian citizen, you have the right to apply for a divorce in any province where you have lived for at least one year. If you have lived in BC for at least a year, you are eligible to file for divorce here.

Step 2: Seek Legal Counsel

Given the complexity of international divorces, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice. Northam Law can guide you through the process and ensure your interests are represented.

Step 3: Gather Necessary Documents

You will need to provide your original marriage certificate or a duly certified copy. If the marriage certificate is not in English, you’ll need to have it professionally translated. Other important documents may include identification, proof of residency in BC, and proof of Canadian citizenship.

Step 4: File for Divorce

Your lawyer will help you prepare and file a Notice of Family Claim at the BC Supreme Court. This document formally starts the divorce process. It outlines the orders you’re asking the court to make, such as spousal support, child custody, or division of property.

Step 5: Serve Your Spouse

You must legally serve your spouse with a copy of the filed Notice of Family Claim. If your spouse is in the Philippines, Northam Law can discuss options with you as to how this may be done.

Step 6: Wait for Response

After being served, your spouse has 30 days to file a Response to Family Claim. If they don’t respond within this period, you may apply to proceed with the divorce as an undefended (“uncontested”) matter.

Step 7: Attend Court Proceedings

If the divorce is contested, you will have to attend court proceedings to resolve the issues. If it is uncontested, the process is simpler, and you may not need to appear in court at all.

Step 8: Finalize the Divorce

Once all issues are resolved, the court will grant a Divorce Order. After a 31-day appeal period, you can request a Certificate of Divorce. The Certificate of Divorce is the final document in your divorce process, which officially ends your marriage.

Remember that while this blog post aims to provide a helpful guide, it does not substitute legal advice. Laws surrounding divorce, particularly international divorce, can be complex. It’s always recommended to consult with a lawyer to understand your rights and the procedures involved fully. Northam Law can help you. For more details, see Family Law.


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Melissa has 8+ years of combined Commercial, Business and Contract Law experience as In-House Counsel in manufacturing, health, real estate development, and broadcast communication industries. She is instrumental in developing strategies to minimize legal risk and ensure regulatory compliance.

She has 6+ years of Human Resources Management experience and a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) designation. Her practice includes Family Law, Civil Litigation, Wills & Estates and Real Estate & Conveyancing.

For fun, she visits ancient sites and ruins and belts out popular Broadway tunes.

northam law corporation

Northam Law is a boutique law firm offering advisory services in Real Estate Law and Conveyancing, Business Law, and Human Resources. Our practice areas also include Wills & Estates and Family Law. Notarization services are also available.

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