Families Change Guide to Separation & Divorce

Online Information Guides

Changing or Enforcing a Court Order

How Can I Change my Current Order or Agreement?
To change an agreement filed with the court or a family court order, you must make changes at the court as it was originally filed/made. If you and your former spouse agree, use one of these guides: Provincial Court | Supreme Court. If you and your former spouse disagree, use one of these guides: Provincial Court | Supreme Court.

Enforcing Orders and Agreements for Support
This resource explains enforcing court orders and separation agreements that require spousal or child support to be paid.

Child Protection

If Your Child is Taken
This brochure explains what you can do if the Ministry of Children and Family Development removes your child or is planning to remove your child from your home. It describes what the law says, what you can do, and what happens in court. It also tells you where you can go to get the help you need.

Child Support

Child Support
This resource, available in text or audio format, provides an in-depth explanation of child support.
Other languages: Chinese, Punjabi

Child Support in BC: Information for Parents
This booklet contains basic information about child support in British Columbia. It explains many topics, including your duty as a parent to support your child or children, what child support is and who has to pay it, and who makes decisions about child support.

Dividing Up Family Assets

Dividing Property and Debts
This script, available in text or audio format, discusses dividing up the family assets when a marriage breaks up.
Other languages: Chinese, Punjabi


Requirements for Divorce and Annulment
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.
Other languages: Chinese, Punjabi

Domestic Violence

Mothers Leaving Abusive Partners
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.
Other languages: French, Spanish, Punjabi, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese

Surviving Relationship Violence and Abuse
This publication outlines what abuse is from a legal perspective and what a woman's legal rights are if she is in an abusive relationship. It explains what women can do to protect themselves and their children, and the kind of help they can get.

Abuse Is Wrong in Any Language
This booklet is for immigrant and refugee women who are suffering from abuse in a relationship or in a family.

Family Violence
This resource, available in both text and audio formats, provides a good summary of what abuse is, where you can get help, what happens in the courts, and options available.

Reporting Suspected Child Abuse
This resource, available in both text and audio formats, covers many topics related to child abuse, including the duty to report it and what happens once it is reported.

Is someone you know abusing his partner? Here’s how to talk to him about his behaviour
Everyone has a role to play in preventing violence against women. This brochure describes the warning signs of abuse and how you can help by talking to the abusive man about his behaviour.

Resources for Women and Advocates: Violence Against Women and the Law
This brochure features resource numbers for emergency services, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Aboriginal services, youth safe houses and transition houses.

Stopping the Violence: A guide for women facing domestic violence
This brochure includes dozens of resources available for women facing domestic violence, tips and information about violence and its effect on the children, establishing a safety plan, and more.

Resources for women facing abuse: wallet card
This card features resource numbers for emergency services, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, Aboriginal services, youth safe houses and transition houses.

This BC government website provides important information about domestic violence, including: where to get help, VictimLinkBC, information for teens, and staying safe. Hotline (24/7): 1-800-563-0808

Going to Court

If You Need to Choose 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 Court
This resource, available in text or audio format, explains Family Court which is part of BC’s Provincial Court system.
Other languages: Chinese, Punjabi

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.


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.


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 to Work Well With a Lawyer
Considering the tips in publication will help you and your lawyer work together in the best possible way.

Low Cost and Free Legal Services
Lawyers’ services can be expensive, but many people don’t know that there’s a great deal of legal information and advice available at a very low cost – and even free in some cases. This publication provides information on low cost and free legal services which are available.


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.


Mediation and Collaborative Settlement Process
This resource, available in text or audio format, discusses ways to resolve family law disputes without going to court.
Other languages: Chinese, Punjabi

Mediation can be used for many kinds of family disputes but is most often used when couples separate or divorce. MediateBC provides a range of family mediation services – and that maintain a roster of mediators available throughout BC.

Seeing a Family Justice Counsellor or Duty Counsel

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 contains information and many links that will prepare you to meet with a counsellor.

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.


Separation and Separation Agreements
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.
Other languages: Chinese, Punjabi

Spousal Support

Spousal Support
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.
Other languages: Chinese, Punjabi