How to Use the Supreme Court Family Forms

(Transcript of video)

This video is intended to introduce you to the Supreme Court forms that came into effect on July 1, 2010. This video provides general information about how the form works; it will not tell you how to fill out the form or what specific information to put into it.

The forms are all saveable, fillable PDF forms, but some of them have a slightly different format because they're set up to allow Court Services to extract information directly from the form. This will allow the court registries to process documents more quickly in future.

In these forms, you can either type directly into the form or cut and paste text from another document (for example, a Word file), then print the form, or print out the form and fill it out by hand. The forms can then be filed at your court registry.

Some of the forms contain some unfamiliar features, which we'll introduce here. Let's begin by opening the Notice of Family Claim using a link here from the Family Law website. When you open the form, you'll see a series of buttons across the top: New, Open, Save, Fill In Form, and Prepare Paper Copy.

If you click "New," it'll clear out any information you already put into the form and start a fresh form.

"Open" allows you to reopen an existing file and bring back information that you entered into the form at an earlier sitting.

"Save" allows you to save the information you've entered into the form as an XML file (this means that only the information you enter is saved, not the form itself). We'll come back to the Open and Save buttons later.

"Fill In Form" opens other boxes and options so you can start filling in the form online. If you select this button, "Fill In Form" changes to "Print Preview," which lets you see what the final form will look like (you can toggle back and forth between these two options).

"Prepare Paper Copy" adds all possible fields to the form so you can print out a hard copy of the form and fill it out by hand. Note that if you click on this button, the form will expand from 3 pages to 16.

At the very top of the screen, just above these buttons, is another option called "Highlight Fields." If this option is selected, all the fillable fields in the form are shaded blue. Select it again and the shading disappears.

To fill in the form online, click "Fill In Form." You'll see a few new fields with green buttons appear below. Each of the green buttons, when clicked, opens further options and fields. Once you open these fields and fill in the information, you can either click the blue "Close" button to close the window when you finish filling that in or, if you click one of the green buttons and then discover you don't need it, you can just click "Delete" to get rid of it.

Let's fill in a few fields. Some of the fields are text fields you enter information into. Others are drop-down menus that you select an option from. You can either use the Tab button or your mouse to move from field to field.

Filling in the form online will actually save you time, since you only need to enter information once to have it appear everywhere that applies on the form. You notice that while I'm typing the name here and I tab to the next field, it automatically appears up here.

The green buttons allow you to enter various types of information; for example, your address. To open the address fields, click on "Address," then enter your address in the lines that appear. For the province and country, British Columbia and Canada appear as the defaults, but you can also use either the drop-down list to choose a different option or delete what's there and type in a different province and country.

The address you enter here will automatically appear as the address for service farther down in the form. If you want to receive documents by fax or email, fill in these two fields. If you prefer to have documents served on you only in person, leave these two fields blank.

"Add AKA/DBA" means "also known as/doing business as," and allows you to enter an alternate name if you happen to go by another name. For example, if you or your spouse regularly uses an unofficial alias or a name other than the name on your marriage certificate, you would select "Also Known As" from the drop-down here and then type in the other name. For example, a wife whose name is JANE DOE, but who regularly goes by Janey. will show up here as Jane Doe also known as Janey Doe.

"Add Legal Rep." can be used to enter the name of an executor, intervener, litigation guardian, trustee, or other type of legal representative, if that applies to your case.

If there’s a third party involved in your case, you would click “Add Another Respondent” and fill in his or her name here.

When you scroll down to the second page, you'll see that the names are filled in here. Now you need to fill in the other highlighted fields in the form. Some of these are text fields. You also have check boxes here or date fields. For the date fields you can click on the arrow here to get a calendar, click on the month to get a drop-down list of the months. Click on the year and you can scroll to the correct year, and then click on the day of the month to select it, or just type in the date using the correct format.

When you first open this form, it’s only 3 pages long. Checking the boxes under “My Claims” will make the relevant schedules appear in the form. For example, if you check “An order for divorce,” you’ll see that the form has gone from to 7 pages. If you check another one, it gets even longer.

Filling in some fields will automatically fill other fields. For example, if you chose the registry location from the drop-down list on page 1, you'll see that the address of the registry automatically appears in #6 on page 3. Also the address for service automatically appears if you filled in an address for the claimant on page 1.

If you tick "Claimant" below the signature box on page 3, you'll see your name automatically appear down here. If you click on the Signature box, you have the option of signing the form electronically using a digital ID. However, you can just cancel out here, print out the document, and sign it manually so you can file it at the court registry.

When you finish filling out the form, there are two ways you can save the information that you've entered into the form. You can save the form as a completed PDF that you can save to your computer and either print out or reopen and change again.

Or, you can use the "Save" button here and save your file as an XML file. What this does is that it allows you to save your file and then reopen it to revise the form. Reopen the blank form and "Open" the XML file you just saved, and all the information I'd put in comes back.

If you save it in this way, you can also use this same file to put information into some of the other forms as well (for example, you could open the Response to Counterclaim if you need to fill this out, reopen the XML file using the Open button here and it will automatically fill in your name, address, and all the information that applies to both forms.

For more help with the Supreme Court process and what to do with the forms you've filled out, please see the relevant self-help guides on the Family Law in BC website.

© Legal Services Society

BC, 2010

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