As I go through my own marriage breakdown, I’ve encountered a number of very handy websites. Since marital breakdown is one of the leading contributors to financial (and emotional) stress, I thought it appropriate to include the list of FREE resources on this site.

Forgive the draft nature; it’s a work-in-progress.

Canada-wide information

British Columbia specific information

BC Supreme Court

The following issues can only be addressed by the BC Supreme Court

    • Divorce
    • Property Division, for both marrieds and common laws

More detailed


Costs you money

Family Court

If you don’t need a divorce or don’t need to deal with property division, or you want to deal with custody/access or support without hiring a lawyer, bringing your claim in Provincial Court can be a real time- and money-saver.

If your issues are limited to the following, you can go through the provincial court:

    • Custody, Access or Guardianship
    • No-Contact (Restraining) Orders
    • Child and Spousal Support

Simpler procedure


Less expensive

Core differences between marrieds and common law when it comes to terminating a relationship


Marrieds – all assets are assumed shared, even if they are registered under one parties name

Common laws – all assets are owned by the person under whom they are registered

To claim an interest in your partner’s property, common  laws must show three things:

  • that there was an “unjust enrichment”,
  • that there was a “corresponding deprivation”, and
  • that there is no legal reason for the deprivation.

For more information, please visit the Canadian Bar Association Common-Law bulletin

Please note that the current family relations act expires on March 18, 2013 and there will be changes. This blog provides an excellent overview of those changes.


Currently, marrieds have three years to apply for child and spousal support payments; common-laws have one year. When the act changes in 2012, both will have two years to apply. The great leveling.

Pension Plans

The division of assets, including pension plans, is pretty much automatic for marrieds, although (I believe) you do have to file the paperwork. There is no deadline for application. Common-laws actually have to demonstrate how their contribution to the relationship enabled the other party to develop their pension plans. The split is the same as marrieds if it is written into your formal separation agreement. Common-laws have four years to apply.  More information is available here.

Legal Aid

Legal Aid for residence of BC is pretty well a joke. The only topic that they will address is safety (ie abuse or kidnapping), and will only help you so far as to get (and maybe enforce) a restraining order. They won’t help you secure child or spousal support. Even if you’re destitute, you’re on your own. Which may seriously impact what you can provide for your child(ren) that the government claims to really care about. The information is buried very VERY deeply on their website.

Please feel free to contribute to the conversation, for BC or any other province/territory in Canada. Please include links were available. The more voices we have, the wider the information base! I will be updating the page as required.

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