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Porter Ramsay Blog

Family law: Responding to a divorce petition in British Columbia

Being on the receiving end of divorce papers is not easy. It can actually be heart-wrenching, but the truth is once a marriage is over and divorce is imminent, one person is likely to make the move to make the dissolution of the marriage permanent, based upon the guidelines outlined in family law rules. Those in British Columbia who find themselves on the responding end of a divorce notice and are served papers — called a Notice of Family Claim — have 30 days in which to respond.

If the respondent isn’t around to receive the documents or the claimant can’t seem to have them delivered personally, the court may authorize substitute service. They can be left in the mailbox, for example, or with close family members. Respondents who don’t acknowledge receiving a Notice of Family Claim may find that the court will give the orders contained within it the stamp of approval without providing the respondent with further notice.

Essentially, the Notice of Family Claim highlights the reasons why the claimant is asking for a divorce. It can include information regarding spousal and child support, parenting of children, division of property and issues around family debt, among other things. It is important to note that it takes 31 days from the date divorce orders are made, for them to actually take effect.

A British Columbia family law lawyer can help his or her client with the Notice of Family Claim by explaining, in easy-to-understand language, what exactly the claimant wants. A lawyer can also assist a client in filing a Response to Family Claim. By the same token, a lawyer may be able to assist the spouse wishing to file the divorce claim, though each spouse will need to retain separate legal counsel. 

   

Source: cbabc.org, “The Respondent in Divorce Proceedings“, Accessed on April 6, 2018