Supreme Court — Sole application
How to do your own undefended (uncontested) divorce
Before you begin
Your entire divorce can be done in two to three months, but it may take longer. There are waiting periods that affect the speed with which your divorce can be completed. The time also depends on how busy your Supreme Court registry is.
There are two separate court fees you have to pay to get a divorce:
- $210 when you file the first documents (a $200 filing fee, plus $10 for a Registration of Divorce); and
- $80 when you make the final application (see Step 8 for details).
You may also choose to pay another $40 for an optional Certificate of Divorce (Form F56). If you ever want to remarry, you'll need the Certificate of Divorce. You can order the certificate at any time after the divorce takes effect (see Step 8 for details).
There are also some other costs involved in getting a divorce. If you choose to have your affidavits sworn at the court registry, this will cost you $40 per affidavit. If you don't have a certified copy of your marriage certificate or registration of marriage, you'll have to pay for this document as well. (See our self-help guide How to get a copy of your marriage certificate.)
These are the court costs only. Other costs may include having a process server deliver your documents or having your documents sworn anywhere other than at the court registry.
Tip: If you can't afford to pay court fees, see our self-help guide How to get an order to waive fees in Supreme Court.
Divorce is a legal procedure. When you are legally married, the only way to end your marriage legally is to get a divorce.
In British Columbia, you get a divorce in the Supreme Court of BC by getting an order for divorce from a Supreme Court judge.
This guide can help you do your own divorce. If your paperwork is in order and you have made reasonable arrangements for child support, the process should be straightforward. You won't have to see a judge or go to court to ask for your divorce. You just prepare and file the necessary documents at the registry.
Although you're the one filing the divorce against your spouse, the courts attach no blame to either spouse.
After you marry, you can use the last name you had before your marriage or your spouse's last name. At any time, you can use your original surname or maiden name again, and you don't need to apply for a legal name change. The same is true after a divorce. You can choose to use your name at birth or your spouse's last name.
If you want to change your name to something other than your birth name or married surname, you can apply to do that as part of your application for divorce. You can also apply to do it separately. See the Legal Changes of Name page on the BC government website for more information.
When you make a sole application for a divorce, you are the claimant and your ex-spouse is the respondent. As the claimant, you can ask a name change for yourself, but you can't ask for a name change for the respondent. He or she can ask for a name change as part of the Counterclaim.
Before you begin your own divorce, take the time to meet with a family law lawyer to find out what your rights and responsibilities are. You may have a right to property, to spousal or child support/maintenance, or to a division of assets or pensions. Or you may have obligations to pay spousal or child support or to take responsibility for certain debts.
If you don't make these claims now, you may lose your right to them after the divorce is complete.