Checklist for a Family Case Conference

Provincial Court

A Family Case Conference (FCC) is a private, informal one-hour meeting between you, the other person involved in your case (the law calls them the other party), a Provincial Court judge, and your lawyers (if you have them).

The point of the FCC is to try to settle any parenting, support, or other family law issues without going to court for a full hearing.

Use this checklist to help you remember to bring everything you need to your FCC. That will help you make the most of your time.

Only use the sections that apply to your case.

General information

No matter what your case is about, bring this information with you:

  • the age and birthdate of all the people involved (including any children)
  • the date you moved in together or got married
  • where you lived when you were together
  • the date you separated
  • where you and the other person live now
  • who lives with you or the other person (for example, your children, a new partner, stepchildren, a roommate)
  • if you have dependent children, where they live now
  • what you and the other person do for work

Role of each person when you were together

You might need to describe how you and the other person shared your responsibilities when you were together. Make a note of what roles you each played. For example:

  • one spouse stayed at home and cared for the children while the other worked
  • one spouse worked while the other went to school to upgrade their skills and get a better-paying job
  • both spouses worked, the children were in daycare during the day, and both spouses looked after them when they were off work

If you're applying for or responding to an application for parenting orders, bring this information:

  • the age and birthdate of each child
  • the name of the children's daycare, preschool, or any other school
  • the grade each child is in
  • a short description of how each child is getting on in school
  • the children's extracurricular activities (things they do when they're not in school, such as music lessons or sports) or special interests, if they have any
  • any medical problems or special needs the children have
  • the estimated cost of each child's medical, educational, or other special expenses

Parenting responsibilities

If you and the other parent don't agree on parenting orders or if the parenting orders relate to your or the other person's ability to pay support, think about the following questions:

  • How did you share your parenting tasks? (This is extra important if you've just recently separated and parenting arrangements are an issue.) For example:
    • Who changed the diapers?
    • If the baby wasn't breastfed, who cleaned and warmed up the milk bottles?
    • Who got up at night to feed the baby?
    • Who went to parent-teacher conferences?
    • Who took the children to the dentist or extracurricular activities?
  • Who shopped for groceries and prepared the family's meals?
  • Was childcare shared, or did one parent do the bulk of it?
  • Who are the children closest to? Why do you think this is?
  • How have you shared your childcare chores since you separated? (This is extra important if you separated quite a while ago and you can't agree about how to share your parenting time and parental responsibilities.)
  • Have you taken any steps since the separation to minimize disruption in the children's lives? For example:
    • you moved to a smaller home, but stayed in the same neighbourhood so your children's daycare or school wouldn't change
    • you make sure the children have as much time as possible with the other parent
    • you keep doing things you used to do as a family, like having dinner on Sunday nights with the children's grandparents, etc.

Extended family

Extended family includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who live nearby or in the same house as you. Include the following details if they're relevant to an application for parenting orders:

  • the names of any extended family members (include their relationship and where they live) the child has a relationship with
  • your relationship to those family members, whether they're from your family or your spouse's family
  • how those relationships are being kept up since the separation

Parenting time and contact with a child

If you're applying for or responding to an application for parenting time or contact with a child, be ready to answer questions like:

  • Does either parent work or work shifts that could affect their ability to spend time with the children?
  • How much time have the children spent with each parent since you separated (for example, alternate weekends with each parent, weekdays with only one parent)?
  • Are there any special events/occasions for which you or the other parent particularly want the children?

Other important information

If you're applying for or responding to an application for parenting orders, here's a list of some other information to bring:

  • any religious, spiritual, or cultural values that you and the other parent think should be part of your children's upbringing (especially if you don't agree about it or one of you has very strong feelings about it)
  • your religious, spiritual, or cultural activities before the separation
  • any other languages the children know (for example, if the children speak Chinese because they spend time with a parent or grandparent who speaks it)

The way that family members interact with each other or behave toward each other is called family dynamics. Family dynamics can be important if you have a family law issue.

If you're applying for or responding to an application for a family law protection order or a parenting order, think about your family dynamics. They might also be relevant to a support application.

Here are some things to include:

  • Describe how you and the other person communicate.
    • Do you text or do you phone each other, for example?
    • Do you feel afraid when you talk with the other person? If so, give some recent examples.
    • Does the other person often ignore your texts or phone calls? If so, give some recent examples.
  • If there was family violence, describe it in detail.
    • Was anyone hurt? If so, describe the injuries and attach doctor's notes if you have them.
    • Only talk about recent incidents (as close in time as possible to the court application) and any major past events.
    • Get and attach copies of police reports, charges, and peace bonds, if you have any.
    • Have your children experienced any violence or abuse?
    • Have you taken any steps to help them deal with any violence or abuse?
  • Describe any drug or alcohol abuse by a parent or new partner that affects the children's safety.
  • Describe any involvement of the Ministry of Children and Family Development with your family.

For spousal support

If you're applying for or responding to an application for spousal support, you'll need the following information:

  • a short list of your education and work history
  • a list of any time out of work and the reasons why (for example, illness, injury, having children, staying at home to be a homemaker)
  • a short description of your current job and income
  • the source and amount of your income for the last three years
  • a list of your reasonable needs and how much more money you'd need to meet them
  • a list of anything that stops you from earning a reasonable living (for example, you have a physical disability, you're caring for young children, or you need to upgrade your skills)
  • an estimate of how long you need to upgrade your job skills and what else you need to do to be able to earn a reasonable living
  • a short list of the other person's education, work history, current job, and current income
  • a list of any assets that could be used for support (for example, an RRSP in your spouse's name alone)

For child support

If you're applying for or responding to an application for child support, you'll need the following information:

  • your income:
    • mention if you think your income is likely to get a lot higher or lower in the near future
  • what you think the other person’s income is:
    • if you believe the other person isn't being honest about their income, make a list of what you think is wrong and why you think this
    • mention if you believe the other party is deliberately underemployed
  • mention any special benefits that you or the other person gets, such as band distribution cheques, disability benefits, or EI
  • if you're claiming special or extraordinary expenses, write down each expense claimed and the child it's claimed for, and give proof of the expenses, for example, receipts (they have to be listed per month)
  • if you get medical, dental, or extended healthcare benefits through your job or the other person’s job, make a full list of them