How to Obtain Personal Divorce Records in Vancouver, BC

by Tom Streissguth

    To find divorce records in Vancouver, you have two straightforward options. For more recent cases, you must apply to the Supreme Court registry, which has divorce certificates on file. Information on older divorce cases (1983 and previous) is accessible at the Vancouver Public Library. Public information in divorce cases includes the names of the parties, the case file number and the date the case was filed. The public may also access the divorce certificate and any orders issued by the court.

    Step 1

    Go to the sixth floor of the Vancouver Central Library, at 350 West Georgia Street, which serves as a depository for historical and public records. Reference librarians will guide you to a microfilm cabinet that indexes divorce records by year and by the husband’s surname. These records run up to and including 1983. You must load the film into a microfilm reader in order to use it. A single reel covers multiple years. You search the reel by the surnames, which are in alphabetical order. You can print out the relevant record on a microfilm printer.

    Step 2

    Apply to the Supreme Court Registry in the court in which the divorce was filed, if the case you are researching is more recent. You can obtain divorce records in person or by mail. In person, you apply to the registry clerk; fill out the appropriate request form and pay a fee. By mail, you must provide a letter of request, as well as your address and phone number, and include the current fee as posted on the registry’s website.

    Step 3

    Contact the Central Divorce Registry in Ottawa at 613-957-4519 if you are unsure of the proper Supreme Court Registry that holds the divorce records. This agency has a complete record of all divorce cases filed in the country and will be able to identify the court registry where the records and divorce certificate are kept.

    Things Needed

    • Divorce case number or husband's surname
    • Request forms
    • Court registry fee, if applicable
    • Printing fees, if applicable
    • Mailing fee, if applicable

    Tips & Warnings

    • In order to obtain divorce hearing transcripts, you must apply to the clerk for an Order granting access. If there was a closed courtroom proceeding, the Order may be denied unless you can show good cause for a grant of access.
    • According to British Columbia's Supreme Court Family Rule 22-8(1)(a), only the parties to a divorce case or their attorneys may have access to court records in a family law case. Otherwise, anyone requesting the records must be authorized in writing by one of the party's or one of the party's attorneys to do so. This rule also applies to separation agreements.

    About the Author

    Founder/president of the innovative reference publisher The Archive LLC, Tom Streissguth has been a self-employed business owner, independent bookseller and freelance author in the school/library market. Holding a bachelor's degree from Yale, Streissguth has published more than 100 works of history, biography, current affairs and geography for young readers.

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