Legal Separation In BC
“Separation” is a key consideration in divorce and matrimonial proceedings. It impacts on many of the issues arising in the context of a divorce and/or matrimonial proceeding, inclusive of:
- Divorce: the date of your separation may determine when you may be divorced. If the grounds for your divorce are “one year of separation”, then divorce proceedings cannot be commenced until after you have actually separated and may not be concluded until you have been separated for at least one year.
- Division of property under the Family Law Act: The Family Law Act provides that your separation is a triggering event under the Act. Upon separation, the provisions of the Act are triggered and each spouse has a right to an undivided half interest in all family property and is equally responsible for family debt.
- Limitation Date: Separation may trigger the running of a limitation period for the commencement of legal proceedings. For example, the Family Law Act provides that in the case of married couples, generally, proceedings for spousal support or division of property/debt must be commenced within 2 years of the date that judgement granting a divorce is made or an order declaring the marriage to be a nullity is made. In the case of common-law couples, generally, proceedings for spousal support or division of property/debt must be commenced within two years of the date of separation. In the case of stepparents and stepchildren the test is different. The limitation under the Family Law Act for a claim of child support is one year after the date that the stepparent last contributed to the support of the child. Failure to commence proceedings prior to the expiration of a limitation date may result in the loss of your right to proceed with your claim for support and/or division of property/debt. The issue of limitation periods can be complex and the consequences serious and, accordingly, you should consult with a lawyer whenever there is a potential limitation period Issue.