Family Law Fact Sheets

Immigrant PLEI Consortium
The IPC Project has developed reader-friendly multilingual fact sheets on some of the most important Employment Standards issues facing newcomers to BC.

How to Resolve a Family Law Matter without Going to Court(PDF)
The new Family Law Act came into effect in March 2013. This article explains what the Act could mean to you or someone you know.

Protecting yourself from family violence(PDF)
This article explains what you can do if you are being abused by a family member.

What are separation agreements and how do I get one?(PDF)
This article explains the rules about separation agreements.

What happens to the children when a family breaks up?(PDF)
This article explains what the Act could mean to you or someone you know.

What is elder abuse and where can I get help?(PDF)
This article explains what elder abuse is and how to get help when the abuser is a family member or caregiver.

What is financial abuse of older adults?(PDF)
Financial abuse is the most common form of elder abuse. This article explains what financial abuse of older adults consists of, and where older adults and those who care about them can get help.

Who supports the children when a family breaks up?(PDF)
This article explains what the rules are about paying child support.

Justice Education Society
the Justice Education Society (JES) has been dedicated to improving access to the legal system through hands-on, targeted, two-way education between the public and those working in the justice system.

Family Duty Counsel(PDF)
Family Duty Counsel are lawyers paid by the Legal Services Society (Legal Aid) for up to three hours of free advice to help with family law issues.

Family Mediation(PDF)
Family mediation helps parents to make important decisions when experiencing separation or divorce. Family mediation helps parents make decisions that are in the best interests of the children.

Domestic Violence(PDF)
Domestic violence is any form of violent or abusive behaviour that happens during a relationship or after a relationship ends. Domestic violence may include more than physical or sexual violence; it can include other forms of abuse in an attempt to control or intimidate someone.

Child Protection(PDF)
In B.C., a child is anyone under the age of 19. Child abuse can take different forms. It may be physical, sexual, emotional – or the result of neglect.

Elder Abuse(PDF)
Elder abuse or neglect is when there is violence against seniors or mistreatment of seniors, including neglect of seniors who depend on others for care. Abuse or neglect may take many different forms including physical, sexual, emotional, and financial. Many types of abuse, and some types of neglect, are criminal offences.

Steps of Separation: Where Am I in the Process?(PDF)
This illustrated chart helps community workers identify where their clients are in the separation process.

Aboriginal Parenting After Separation Toolkit (PDF)
The Toolkit includes a number of tools that community workers can use to help parents deal with a family break-up. Part 2 of the Toolkit involves children, and relevant topics include how to tell the children, how conflict affects children and how to help your children.

The Canadian Bar Association
The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) is the essential ally and advocate of all members of the legal profession and is committed to enhancing the professional and commercial interests of a diverse membership and to protecting the independence of the judiciary and the Bar.

Separation and Separation Agreements (PDF)
This resource, available in text or audio format, is for legally married spouses only. It discusses divorce as well as child custody, property and debt issues.

Requirements for Divorce and Annulment (PDF)
This resource, available in text or audio format, covers many topics related to divorces and annulments, including grounds for divorce, separation, and how to proceed.

Mediation and Collaborative Family Law (PDF)
This resource, available in text or audio format, discusses ways to resolve family law disputes without going to court.

Family Court (PDF)
This resource, available in text or audio format, explains Family Court which is part of BC’s Provincial Court system.

Enforcing Maintenance, Support Orders or Agreements (PDF)
This resource, available in text or audio format, explains enforcing court orders and separation agreements that require spousal or child support to be paid.

Custody, Guardianship and Access (PDF)
If you’re thinking about separating from your spouse or have already separated, the continued parenting of your children may be your biggest concern. This resource, available in text or audio format, discusses custody, guardianship and access for children of legally married parents.

Child Support (PDF)
This resource, available in text or audio format, provides an in-depth explanation of child support.

Spousal Support (PDF)
This script, available in text or audio format, discusses spousal support payments – sometimes called “maintenance” – and which used to be referred to as “alimony.” Note that this discussion applies equally to support orders for married people and for people living in a common-law relationship or with a gay or lesbian partner.

Dividing up Family Assets (PDF)
This script, available in text or audio format, discusses dividing up the family assets when a marriage breaks up.

BC Ministry of Justice The mission of the Ministry of Justice is to lead law reform in British Columbia, see that public affairs are administered in accordance with the law and ensure that British Columbia is a province where people are safe

Guide to Mediation in BC
This document provides an introduction to mediation as a process for resolving disputes. Information is provided in a question-and-answer format.

When Should I See a Family Justice Counsellor?
This webpage lets you know if you should see a counsellor as well as the services counsellors provide.

How Can I Prepare for my meeting with a Family Justice Counsellor? This webpage lets you know if you should see a counsellor as well as the services counsellors provide.

What Will Happen at my First Appearance Hearing, or Any Other Court Hearing? This webpage prepares you for your first appearance hearing.

How Do I Prepare for my First Appearance Hearing, or Any Other Court Hearing? This webpage will assist you in preparing for your first appearance or court hearing.

What Should I Do Once I'm In Court? Courtrooms can be intimidating until you get used to them. This webpage explains what you should do upon entering a courtroom.

How Can I Change my Current Order or Agreement? The process for changing a child custody, guardianship or access order or agreement depends on whether you and the other parent are in agreement about the change. This webpage explains both scenarios.

Do I Need a Lawyer? If you are separated or thinking of separating, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer so that you understand your rights and responsibilities. This webpage explains that speaking to a lawyer is a good option.

How Do I Choose the Right Lawyer? You may have to talk with several lawyers before you decide on the one you want to work with. This webpage will help you identify what you need to consider and ask when you are interviewing lawyers.

What Do Lawyers Cost? This webpage doesn't list laywer costs, but does note what they charge for and how you should confirm how you will be charged.

Legal Services Society
The Legal Services Society provides legal aid in British Columbia

Legal Advice
Duty counsel are lawyers paid by the Legal Services Society to help lower income people with their family law problems. This webpage details how they can help you.

This webpage explains guardianship, which is the right (and the responsibility) to make major decisions for a child about such things as education, health care, and religious training, as well as how to manage anything the child may own, such as property or money.

This webpage explains guardianship, access generally means the time children spend with the parent they do not usually live with.

Do you need any legal documents to be able to leave Canada with your child?
When travelling out of the country with your children, you want to be as prepared as possible. Travelling with your child but without the other parent requires some important steps, which are explained on this webpage.

If You Need to Chose a Court
Figuring out which court you should go to is an important first step in any family law case. This webpage, which features charts and text-based information, will help you decided if you need to go to court and, if so, which court to use.

Family Case Conferences in Provincial Court
This webpage explains Family Case Conferences - private, informal, one-hour meetings with a Provincial Court judge and the other party (and your lawyer[s] if you have them), at which you'll try to settle some of the issues around custody, access, guardianship, and child support without going to court for a full hearing.

Family Case Conference Checklist
This webpage is a checklist of the information/facts you need when you go into a Family Case Conference.

Sponsorship Breakdown This booklet tells you what to do if the person who sponsored you for permanent resident status in Canada will not support you, and you cannot support yourself. It can be frightening when this happens, but there is help available. This booklet explains how to get help as quickly as possible.

YWCA Metro Vancouver
YWCA Metro Vancouver is a volunteer and membership-based organization that serves the community at large. They are a registered charity and a member of the United Way of the Lower Mainland.

Leaving an Abusive Relationship: Information on Custody and Access for Women with Children
Are you a mother who is planning to leave an abusive partner or do you know a woman who is being abused and needs help? Navigating the complexities of family law and the court system can be extremely challenging, and many women don't know where to turn. This plain language guide offers information on legal processes and terminology, giving women the tools to make the best possible choices for themselves and their children.

BC Housing
BC Housing's mandate is to fulfill the government’s commitment to the development, management and administration of subsidized housing as set out in the Government’s Letter of Expectations and as reflected in an Order-In-Council under the Ministry of Lands, Parks and Housing Act that established the British Columbia Housing Management Commission (BC Housing) in 1967. - See more at:

Second Stage Housing
Second-stage houses help women who have left abusive relationships make plans for independent living. Women and their children usually stay in a second-stage house for 6-18 months. This list contains locations and contact information for transition houses and safe homes across the province.

Subsidized Housing in BC
Subsidized housing encompasses all types of housing whereby the provincial government provides some type of subsidy or rent assistance. Topics this webpage covers include types of subsidized housing, how to apply for it, and housing listings.