Victoria: A new online tool is now available to assist British Columbians with finalizing divorces, speeding up the processing time and creating better access to services by eliminating filing errors.

The Online Divorce Assistant Application helps people complete documentation for joint-filing divorces in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in cases without children. Joint-filed divorces are where both applicants agree on all family law issues relevant to their situation, such as spousal support and the division of family property and debts.

Close to 10,000 divorces are filed each year in B.C., with 30% of those filed jointly. Because the documentation is complex, paperwork is often filled out incorrectly, causing delays and multiple visits to court registries.

The new online tool will eliminate mistakes by guiding users through the necessary steps to complete a joint filed divorce correctly. The streamlined process will reduce barriers and ease stress for couples seeking a divorce who may be intimidated by the amount of paperwork involved. It will also save time, and reduce demand on court administration staff.

The Online Divorce Assistant is designed for devices that are tablet-sized or larger, but can be used on any smartphone or computer. It takes about 15 to 30 minutes to complete. After completing the application, users can print out the finished documents, and take them to a court registry for filing.

The application is expected to lay the framework for future developments, such as an online protection order service. Plans are underway to expand the Online Divorce Assistant in coming months to include joint-filing divorces in cases that involve children.