How Do I Get my Certificate of Divorce?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

You do not need a Certificate of Divorce to make your divorce “legal” or “official”. If you ever have to show legal proof of your divorce, you can use your divorce order. However, you can use the Certificate of Divorce to show legal proof of your divorce to third parties (for example, when you remarry) without giving away all the details in your divorce order. Some foreign jurisdictions may require a certificate if you are getting remarried.

When can I get my Certificate?[edit]

31 days after the divorce order is made, and the divorce has become final, it is possible to obtain a Certificate of Divorce — this is Supreme Court Family Form F56.

How can I apply for it?[edit]

There are a few different ways to apply. Note that there may be slight differences in process between different registries in BC, but the following generally applies:

In person — If you have a lawyer[edit]

The lawyer will go to the Supreme Court Registry where the divorce is filed with:

  • A copy of the divorce order (make a photocopy of the one you have and keep the original),
  • A completed Requisition (Form F17),
  • A completed Certificate of Divorce (Form F56), and
  • $40 for each certificate.

In person — If you don't have a lawyer[edit]

You, or a friend on your behalf, can go in person to the Supreme Court Registry where the divorce is filed with:

  • Your court file number,
  • A completed Requisition (Form F17 — some Registries may have this form available at the counter upon request),
  • $40 for each certificate. Cash, Interac, and personal cheques with 2 pieces of ID are accepted, and
  • It is helpful if you have a copy of your Divorce Order, but it is not required. Providing a copy may expedite the court registry's ability to process your request. It is a good idea to bring government-issued photo ID, like your driver's license or passport.

Applying by snail mail[edit]

You can also make a written request by sending a letter to the Supreme Court Registry where the divorce order is filed. Include with your letter:

  • Your court file number (or the full names of both you and your ex-spouse as they appear on the Divorce Order),
  • It is helpful if you include a copy of your Divorce Order, but not required. Providing a copy may expedite the court registry's ability to process your request,
  • A self-addressed return envelope,
  • Your telephone number, and
  • A cheque or money order for $50 in Canadian dollars ($40 for each certificate + $10 mailing fee — if you want 2 certificates, you'd send $90) payable to the Minister of Finance. There is a $30 service fee for any dishonoured cheques.


Court file number[edit]

If you don't know where your divorce is filed or your court file number, call the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings at 613-957-4519 (or for the hearing impaired only — 1-800-267-7676) Monday to Friday, 9–4pm EST. They will be able to give you your file number and confirm the court registry location where your divorce is filed. You will have to tell them your date of birth and the ex-spouse's date of birth (or the date of marriage).

Copy of Divorce Order exception[edit]

If your divorce was finalized a long time ago (generally 15 years or longer), the Supreme Court Registry where your divorce order was issued may no longer hold the file. In this case, you may be required to obtain a copy of your old divorce order before applying for a Certificate of Divorce. You can request a copy of your divorce order in writing by email, regular mail, or fax to BC Archives.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Vanessa Van Sickle, June 13, 2019.

Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.

Normally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province. The Supreme Court is a court of inherent jurisdiction and is subject to no limits on the sorts of claims it can hear or on the sorts of orders it can make. Decisions of the Provincial Court are appealed to the Supreme Court; decisions of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal. See "Court of Appeal," "jurisdiction," "Provincial Court," and "Supreme Court of Canada."

A court established and staffed by the provincial government, which includes Small Claims Court, Youth Court, and Family Court. The Provincial Court is the lowest level of court in British Columbia and is restricted in the sorts of matters it can deal with. It is, however, the most accessible of the two trial courts and no fees are charged to begin or defend a family court proceeding. The Family Court of the Provincial Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the Divorce Act. See "judge" and "jurisdiction."

The legal termination of a valid marriage by an order of a judge; the ending of a marital relationship and the conjugal obligations of each spouse to the other. See "conjugal rights," "marriage," and "marriage, validity of."

Evidence which establishes or tends to establish the truth of a fact; also, the conclusion of a logical argument. See "evidence" and "premises."

A mandatory direction of the court, binding and enforceable upon the parties to a court proceeding. An "interim order" is a temporary order made following the hearing of an interim application. A "final order" is a permanent order, made following the trial of the court proceeding or the parties' settlement, following which the only recourse open to a dissatisfied party is to appeal. See "appeal," "consent order," "decision," and "declaration."

A person licensed to practice law in a particular jurisdiction. See "barrister and solicitor."

A central office, located in each judicial district, at which the court files for each court proceeding in that district are maintained, and at which legal documents can be filed, searched, and reviewed.

Under the Divorce Act, either of two people who are married to one another, whether of the same or opposite genders. Under the Family Law Act, married spouses, unmarried parties who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, and, for all purposes of the act other than the division of property or debt, unmarried parties who have lived together for less than two years but have had a child together. See "marriage" and "marriage-like relationship."

In law, any proceeding before a judicial official to determine questions of law and questions of fact, including the hearing of an application and the hearing of a trial. See "decision" and "evidence."

A legal relationship between two persons, whether of the same or opposite genders, that is solemnized by a marriage commissioner or licenced religious official and gives rise to certain mutual rights, benefits, and obligations. See also "conjugal rights," "consortium," and "marriage, validity of."

In law, a court proceeding; a lawsuit; an action; a cause of action; a claim. Also the historic decisions of the court. See "action," "case law, " "court proceeding," and "precedent."

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