Which court should I go to?

Figuring out which court to go to is an important first step.

In British Columbia, the Supreme Court and the Provincial Court handle some of the same types of cases. In many cases, you can go to either court. In other cases, you don’t have a choice.

Only the Supreme Court handles issues such as divorce or the division of property. Usually, if a married couple goes to the Supreme Court for a divorce, they will ask a judge to settle other issues as well, such as parenting arrangements and support. The Supreme Court can handle all family law issues.

The Provincial Court can only handle certain matters such as parenting arrangements, child and spousal support and protection orders. The Provincial Court cannot deal with property division or, except in certain circumstances, questions about who is a child’s legal parent.

Supreme Court is more difficult to navigate and a lawyer who understands the process is usually needed.

Provincial Court is usually less complex and less costly than Supreme Court.

The Legal Services Society website Family Law in British Columbia has information about going to court. It includes the fact sheet Do you need to go to Provincial (Family) Court or Supreme Court? to help decide which court is best for you.