How to get a divorce in New Brunswick: The Reasons
Separation: If you and your partner would like to get a divorce, you must be separated for at least one year before it can be finalized. You can start the process at anytime but will not receive a Divorce Judgment or Certificate until it has been at least one year. You can attempt to get back together for up to 90 consecutive days without needing to restart the one year period. Courts want people to try to make their marriages work, which is why you can take time to try without worrying about prolonging the process if it doesn’t end up working.
Adultery or Cruelty: The two exceptions to the one year separation rule is if one of the partners either committed adultery or performed cruel physical or mental acts to the other spouse. You will need some form of proof or admission for this route, and a lawyer is 100% recommended if this is the case in your situation.
New Brunswick Divorce: The Steps to Take
Step 1: Complete the Petition for Divorce
The first step is to complete the paperwork involved in the Divorce Petition, which involves almost everything you can think of in terms of your marriage. You will need information regarding dates, the parties involved, living arrangements, reason for divorce, and much more. You can also complete a Joint Petition for Divorce, for when you complete the document together. It’s important to note there are small details to remember, such as including a Cover Letter and Table of Contents anytime you submit additional court documents.
Step 2: File the Petition for Divorce
Once all of the paperwork is complete from the first step, the next step is to actually file the documents with the court. This is when you’ll need that cover letter, as well as a cheque or money order for the fees ($100 to file) along with smaller amounts for each of the forms themselves. Make sure to first photocopy everything as you must send those in with the originals. They will keep the photocopies and return the originals to you by mail.
Once the documents are filed and the fees are paid, you will wait for the Original Petition to arrive back with a case number on it as well as a Clearance Certificate (which can take much longer, sometimes up to 3 months depending on how busy the courts are). You must wait for the Original Petition to return before proceeding to Step 3, but you do not need to wait for the Clearance Certificate. You do however need the Clearance Certificate for the filing process in Step 4. If you filed a joint application you can skip Step 3 altogether.
Step 3: Serve the documents
You must serve your spouse with the original petition (that now has a case number) so that they can protest your claims or not. This must be completed within 6 months of the file date and cannot be completed by you. You must request someone else serve your spouse and sign an Affidavit as proof or alternatively use Registered Mail. It does not matter where your spouse resides (they do not also need to be in New Brunswick). If they live in New Brunswick, they have 20 days to respond, if they live in Canada or the USA they have 30 days and anywhere else in the world they have 60 days after the service date.
Step 4: Prepare & File a Trial Record
The trial record must only be filed once the Clearance Certificate arrives. You will need to complete essentially a package for your divorce that includes formal cover letters and table of contents along with a Certificate of Readiness, Request for Divorce and that Clearance Certificate. You will also need to attach the Affidavit of Service, the Original Petition and an Affidavit of Evidence of the Petitioner. You must file this not with the Registrar, but with the Court of the Queen’s Bench, Family Division in your district. If there are no issues with your Trial Record and you’ve included everything you need, then you will be issued a Divorce Judgment, and you can move to Step 5. Otherwise, the courts may respond with more requests.
Step 5: Get the Divorce Judgment
At this point the Divorce Judgment has been granted, where a judge signs the Trial Record and sends it to the Registrar in Fredericton. From there the Registrar will mail you and your spouse a copy of the Judgment and an order for corollary relief if there’s one. The Judgment will have the date at which point your divorce will be finalized and legal, which is usually 31 days later. This is because there is a 30-day appeal period where you and your spouse can appeal the judgment. If there are special circumstances and you want the divorce finalized earlier, you can send an agreement not to appeal with your original trial record (both parties must sign) so that they can issue an earlier effective date. This is usually due to one spouse wishing to remarry.
Step 6: Get the Certificate of Divorce in New Brunswick
Once the waiting period is over, you must apply for your Certificate of Divorce with the Registrar. There is a letter that must be filled out and a certified cheque of $7.00 that must also be included. You can also apply through Service Nova Scotia. Either way, you will receive your formal Certificate of Divorce by mail and that will be official proof of your divorce and you will no longer be married.