Tips about Provincial Court orders

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About orders

An order is the record of a judge's decision. It sets out what you and the other party must do or not do. The order is filed at the court registry.

If you and the other party agree about what you want the court to order, you can apply for a consent order. In this case you'll write (draft) the order. If a judge approves the order, you won't have to go to a court hearing.

If you and the other party don't agree, the judge will make an order after a hearing. Usually you don't have to draft the order made after the hearing.

How do I draft a consent order?

You file a draft consent order using the Consent Order (Form 20). This means you need to fill in the form with the wording of the order you want the court to make.

The Provincial Court of BC website provides a picklist of approved standard terms to help draft family law orders. You can use these standard terms when you draft your consent order.

Scroll down the page to Family Law Act Orders Picklist in MS Word. Click the link to open the document. You'll see an index of different topics, such as guardianship, parenting time, child support, etc. Go to the relevant topic, select the order that best describes your situation, and copy and paste it into your draft. You can use the exact wording, or change it slightly if necessary to fit your situation.

See our step-by-step guide, How to get a final family order, for more information about how to apply for a consent order.

Tip: If you’re starting a family law case, you can also use the picklist to write down what you want the court to order when you're filling out an Application to Obtain an Order. Or if you’re asking the court to change an order or agreement, you can use the picklist when filling out an Application Respecting Existing Orders or Agreements. It helps the judge if you use the picklist to fill out the sections about what you want on these forms.

Orders not made by consent (contested orders)

If you and the other party don't agree and have go to court, a judge will make the order.

Who drafts an order after a court hearing?

The judge will make the order after the hearing. But the judge doesn't draft the order. If the successful party is represented in court by a lawyer, that lawyer will draft the order. If the successful party doesn't have a lawyer, the court clerk will draft the order. The court usually doesn't ask unrepresented people to draft court orders.

What happens after the order is drafted?

If a lawyer drafts the order, that lawyer and lawyers for any other parties must sign the order. If you don't have a lawyer, you don't have to sign the order, unless the court orders that you do.

The lawyer who drafted the order must then deliver the signed order to the court registry. The judge will sign the order and the court registry staff will stamp and file the order. The registry will send a copy of the filed order to all the parties (or their lawyers).

If the court clerk drafted the order, they'll give it to the judge to sign. Once the judge signs the order, it'll be filed in the court registry. The clerk will send a copy to all the parties (or their lawyers).

What if I think the order isn't right?

If you think the order doesn't say what the judge meant, you can apply under Rule 12 to settle the terms of the order using a Notice of Motion (Form 16). You can't do this just because you're unhappy with the judge's order. You can use wording from the picklist to show what you think the judge actually decided.

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