How Do I Get my Certificate of Divorce?
Due to some important changes in family law, some of the current information in JP Boyd on Family Law is out of date (especially information about parenting after separation and moving away after separation under the Divorce Act). We are working on a new edition. Read more under:
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?
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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.|
|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.|