How can I prepare for my meeting with a family justice counsellor?
Before you meet with a family justice counsellor, you may want to attend a Parenting After Separation session. This is a free, three-hour information session for B.C. parents and other family members, such as grandparents, on family issues including guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact, child support and spousal support.
Once you have completed Parenting After Separation, call the nearest Family Justice Centre to set a time to meet with a family justice counsellor.
Before your meeting, the following are things to consider:
- If parenting arrangements are important issues, you may want to look closely at the Parenting Plan (Worksheet 4) in the Parenting After Separation: A Handbook for Parents. The plan may help you focus on your particular situation, and you should consider preparing a draft parenting plan for discussion at your meeting.
- If child support is one of the issues you need help to settle, you may want to take a look at the child support guidelines. See our section on Child Support for more on the guidelines.
- If you need to pay child support, bring your income tax returns, notices of assessment from the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency, and employment or business records showing your salary, fees, and benefits for the past three years.
- Make a list of the issues you need to discuss, in priority order, and the questions you want to ask.
- Collect copies of:
- Any court orders or written agreements now in place relating to your separation or divorce, guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact, and child support or spousal support
- Any protection orders currently in place, and
- Any applications you have made for a court order
- Write down:
- Your lawyer's name and phone number (if you have one)
- The address and phone number of your children's other parent
- Any court dates (Provincial or Supreme Court) scheduled to deal with any of your family issues
- Whether or not you are currently enrolled with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program, here in British Columbia or a similar program elsewhere, and
- Where and when you met with a family justice counsellor before, if you did
- Make childcare arrangements for your children. Please do not bring them with you to the meeting.