What is the process most people will follow?
On December 7, 2020, the provincial court registries in Surrey and Victoria adopted the early resolution and case management features of the new Provincial Court Family Rules.
On May 17, 2021, the new Provincial Court Family Rules were implemented. Surrey and Victoria continue as the only court locations using early resolution (designated as Early Resolution Registries). Other locations may be designated in the future.
As of May 17, 2021, all provincial court locations, including Surrey and Victoria, are using the same family forms.
Most people will use the early resolution process for their parenting arrangements, child support, contact with a child, guardianship of a child and /or spousal support. Generally, the process will include the following steps:
- Start at the Surrey or Victoria Justice Access Centre (JAC) to get information about your options, the process and how to access legal advice and other resources.
- File a form called the Notice to Resolve a Family Law Matter at the Victoria or Surrey Provincial Court registry.
- Provide a copy of the Notice to Resolve to the other parties (by email, text, regular mail, in person or any other way it will get to them).
- Contact the JAC to make an appointment for your individual needs assessment.
- Complete an individual needs assessment with a Family Justice Counsellor at the JAC.
- Complete a Parenting After Separation course unless you have completed it within the last two years or meet one of the few exemptions (the JAC staff can identify for you if an exemption applies).
- Take part in at least one consensual dispute resolution session (including any required preparation for the session), if appropriate.
- When issues are resolved, you can formalize your agreements by written agreement or consent order.
- If there are still issues that need to be resolved, and you need the court’s help, file a form called Application about a Family Law Matter with all your supporting documents and have it served on the other party.
- When the other party (or parties) has replied or the time for reply has passed, work with the Judicial Case Manager to schedule a Family Management Conference.
- At the Family Management Conference, you and the other party (or parties) will meet with a judge.
The early resolution process supports earlier and more durable resolutions. This reduces conflict and builds skills that can help prevent future conflict. Most participants will benefit from the new process. Each step has been designed to support opportunities to resolve issues and help prepare the parties for next steps.