How to start or respond to a family law case to get a new order

Before using these guides

Staying out of court

Before you start using these guides, think about your situation. Is it possible for you and the other party to agree about parenting or support issues?

If you can agree, you won't have to go to court and a judge or master won't make the decisions about these important personal issues for you. Instead, you can:

  • file an agreement with the court that will be as legally binding as a judge's decision, or
  • get a consent order.

Consider the following options to help you work things out:

For more information, see our fact sheet Making an agreement after you separate.

If you have a lawyer, discuss these options with them. If you can't afford a lawyer, you can get legal help in other ways, including legal aid, the Lawyer Referral Service, free (pro bono) legal clinics, family duty counsel, and family advice lawyers. See Who can help? for more information.

If you must go to court — Choose Provincial or Supreme Court

If you:

  • have tried to resolve your issues on your own and can't, or
  • have tried to resolve your issues with the help of a mediator or other service and can't, or
  • don't think it's possible to resolve your issues,

you can apply for parenting or support orders in either BC Provincial (Family) Court or BC Supreme Court.

See our fact sheet Do you need to go to Provincial (Family) Court or Supreme Court? to find out which court would be best for your case. And read our fact sheet Which laws apply to your case? for more information about which court you should go to and which law(s) you can use to get your order.

Once you've decided which court is the right one for you, choose the appropriate link below to go to the self-help guide.