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  • DivorceRecordsattheBCArchives

    AnIntroduction

  • Overview

    Historicalbackground

    Typesofrecordsavailable

    Howtofinddivorcerecords

  • Historicalbackground before1968

    Until1968divorcesinBCweregrantedundertheEnglishDivorceandMatrimonialCausesAct of1857(asamendedin1858).

    Divorceactionsincludedjudicialseparationandannulmentaswellasdissolutionofmarriage.FirstdivorceinBCwasgrantedin1877.SelectedsectionsoftheEnglishDivorceandMatrimonialCausesAct wereincorporatedintotheBCstatutesin1897(RSBC1897,c.62)andremainedmostlyunchangeduntil1968.PetitionsfordivorceandrelatedactionswereheardanddecidedbySupremeCourtjudgesundertheprovisionsoftheActandtheDivorceRules(partoftheBCSupremeCourtRules).

    Intheabsenceofanationaldivorcelaw,until1968divorceinCanadavariedfromprovincetoprovincedependingonwhetherlegislationwasinplacepriortoConfederation;divorcescouldalsobegrantedbyanActofParliament.

  • Historicalbackground 1968todate

    In1968thefederalgovernmentpassedthefirstnationaldivorceactwhichappliedtoallofCanadaandsupercededanypreexistingprovincialdivorcelegislation.ACentralRegistryofDivorceProceedingswascreated.TheBCDivorceandMatrimonialCausesAct wasrepealedin1972.ItwasreplacedwiththeFamilyRelationsAct,todealwithsupport,custody,andrelatedissuesfallingunderprovincialjurisdictionandpreviouslycoveredbytheBCDivorceAct.Anewfederaldivorceact,passedin1985,cameintoeffectin1986andisstillineffect.

  • Whatdivorcerecordsare available?

    Casefiles

    Courtorders

    Causebooksandcaserecordcards

    Indexes

  • Casefiles

    Numberingformatsvarybutarealwayssequential.Containcourtorders,petitions,affidavits,andrelateddocuments.Maybeaseparateseriesorpartofcivilcasefiles.Usuallyretainedbycourtregistriesandeventuallydestroyedafterordersremoved(underDocumentDisposalAct).BCArchiveshasonlyselected,andmostlyolder,casefiles.Accessisrestrictedtopartiestothedivorceandtheirlegalrepresentatives;BCArchivesstaffmaymakecopiesofordersinfiles.

  • Courtorders

    Interimorders(e.g.decreenisi,support).

    Finalorders(e.g.decreeabsolute).

    Otherorders(e.g.changeofname,singleorderfordissolution).

    Maybefiledseparatelyorinterfiledwithothercivilordersandjudgments;mayormaynotberetainedincasefiles.

    Untilrecently,usuallyidentifiedbyvolumeandfolionumber.

    From1935to1985theVitalStatisticsAgencycollectedcertifiedcopiesofallfinaldivorceordersissuedinBC.

  • Courtorders decreenisi

    Grantsdivorceandprovidesdetailsincludingplaceanddateofmarriage,cause,custody,etc.butnotineffectuntildecreeabsolutegranted.

    Usedupto1930sbutnotconsistently;requiredavariablewaitingperiod(usually3months)beforedecreeabsolutecouldbeappliedfor.

    Usedfrom1968to1985under1968CanadaDivorceAct;requireda3monthwaitingperiod.

    Usediscontinuedunder1985CanadaDivorceAct.

  • Courtorders decreeabsolute

    Primarilyfoundindivorcerecordspriortothe1930sandfrom1968to1985.Finalizesdissolutionofmarriagegrantedbydecreenisi.Divorcenotlegallyineffectwithoutdecreeabsolute.Mustbeappliedfor,i.e.isnotautomaticallyissuedafterwaitingperiod.Nomaximumtimelimitonapplyingfordecreeabsolutefordivorceactionsstarted19681985.

  • Courtorders singleorderofdissolution

    Usedintermittentlypriorto1930s.

    BecamemorecommonwhentheBCCourtofAppealwasgrantedjurisdictionin1937tohearappealsindivorcecases,therebyimposingadefacto3monthwaitingperiodaftertheordergrantingadivorcewasfiledbeforeremarriagewaslegal.

    Alwaysusedfordivorcesgrantedunderthe1985DivorceActwhichautomaticallycomeintoeffect31daysafterthedivorcehasbeengranted.

  • Divorcecertificates

    OnceissuedbyVitalStatisticsoffice(19351983).

    Issueduponrequestbycourtregistriesunderthe1985CanadaDivorceActasproofofcompletionofdivorce.

    Optional;ordercomesintoeffectbydefaultafter31days.Notissuedbycourtregistriesfordivorcesgrantedunderpre1985legislation.

    NotavailablefromtheBCArchives.

  • Causebooksandcaserecordcards

    Causebooksusedtomid1970s;replacedwithcaserecordcards(usedtoca.1990).

    Organizedbycasefilenumber.

    Providelistofactionsinacase;insomecasesmaybetheonlysurvivingrecordofadivorce.

    Divorcecasesmayberecordedinseparatedivorcecausebooks(orcards)orbeincludedingeneralcivilcausebooks(orcards).

    Usedtoidentifylocationoforders,i.e.volumeandfolionumberand/orfilingdate.

  • Cause book (1)

  • Cause book (2)

  • Howtofinddivorcerecords

    VitalStatisticsindexesandrecords

    Courtindexesandrecords

    BCArchivesnominal(file)lists

    Otherresources

  • VitalStatisticsindexesandrecords

    IndextoBCdivorces,19001983(GR3254)Completeddivorcesonlyfor19351983;somepre1935incompletedivorceactionsbefore1935includedProvidesplaceanddateofdivorceandindexreferencetoGR3255for19351983divorces

    Divorceorders,19351983(GR3255)Finalordersonly

    SeetheBCArchivesResearchGuidetoDivorceRecordsformoreinformationonhowtousetheserecords

    http://www.bcarchives.bc.ca/Content_Files/Files/Guides/Divorce_guide_200502.pdfhttp://www.bcarchives.bc.ca/Content_Files/Files/Guides/Divorce_guide_200502.pdfhttp://www.bcarchives.bc.ca/Content_Files/Files/Guides/Divorce_guide_200502.pdf

  • Research guide (pdf format)

  • Courtindexesandrecords guides

    UsetheCourtRegistrydivorcerecordguides,filedintheCourtServicesbinderintheReferenceRoom,toidentifywhichindexesandrecordsexistforeachregistry.

  • Divorce record guide for Chilliwack

  • Courtindexesandrecords

    SearchtheTextualRecordsdatabaseusingthenameofthecourtregistryanded withdivorce?*,e.g.Chilliwackanddivorce?UsingAdvancedSearchandenteringthenameoftheregistry,e.g.Chilliwack,intheTitlefieldanddivorce? intheAllTextfieldwillyieldmorerelevantresults.NotalldivorcerecordsaredescribedonthedatabaseusetheCourtRegistrydivorceguidestoidentifyotherrelevantcourtrecordsaccessions.

    ______________*? isusedastruncationsymbol

    http://search.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca/sn-16820E1/bsearch/TextualRecordshttp://search.bcarchives.gov.bc.ca/sn-19FDA1B/advsearch/TextualRecords

  • BCArchivesnominallists

    NominallistsarenotedintheCourtRegistrydivorcerecordguides.

    Existforsomeofthesmallerregistries.

    FoundinfindingaidsforGRrecords(onwebsiteandinblueduotangs intheReferenceRoom).

    Foundinsomeinternalfilelistsforcourtrecords.ConsultwithArchivesReferenceRoomstaff.

  • Nominal list for Chilliwack

  • Otherresources

    BCGenWebVictoriaSupremeCourtdivorceorders18771931.

    NewspapersSometimescarrystoriesandreportsofdivorceactions.UseBCArchivesandLegislativeLibrarynewspaperindexes.

    MarriageregistrationnotationsLawreports

    Includedivorcecaseswhereapointoflawisinvolved.BCReports18671948 freeonlineaccess.AlsoWesternWeeklyReports(WWR),WesternLawReporter(WLR),DominionLawReports(DLR),CanadianAbridgment,CanadianEncyclopedic Digest(CED) onlinethroughsubscriptiononly.

    DivorceinCanada18411968Databaseforparliamentarydivorces.

    http://www.rootsweb.com/~canbc/vic_divorce/vic_div.htmhttp://bchistory.library.ubc.ca/?db=bcreportshttp://www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/databases/divorce/index-e.html

  • Formoreinformationvisitorcontact

    AccessServices

    BCArchives

    675BellevilleStreet

    Victoria,BCV8W9W2

    2503871952(tel.)2503872072

    access@bcarchives.bc.ca

    www.bcarchives.bc.ca

    RoyalBritishColumbiaMuseumCorporation

    mailto:access@bcarchives.bc.cahttp://www.bcarchives.bc.ca/

    Divorce Recordsat the BC ArchivesOverviewHistorical background before 1968Historical background 1968 to dateWhat divorce records are available?Case files Court ordersCourt orders decree nisiCourt orders decree absoluteCourt orders single order of dissolutionDivorce certificatesCause books and case record cardsCause book (1)Cause book (2)How to find divorce recordsVital Statistics indexes and recordsResearch guide (pdf format)Court indexes and records - guidesDivorce record guide for ChilliwackCourt indexes and recordsBC Archives nominal listsNominal list for ChilliwackOther resourcesFor more information visit or contact

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