Court operations during COVID-19Courts are conducting family proceedings in different ways. These include in person, audioconference or videoconference, or a mix of in person and remote options, depending on the level of court. For more information, see:
First, think about whether you need to go to court at all. It can be expensive and stressful. Many couples get help to solve their family law issues without going to court. See Making an agreement after you separate and Who can help you reach an agreement? for more information on this.
In BC, the Supreme Court and the Provincial Court handle some of the same types of cases. But sometimes you don't have a choice about which court to go to. For example, if you're married and you want a divorce, you must go to Supreme Court. Or, if you want to change an order that's already in place, you usually have to go back to the same court where the order was made.
Sometimes you can use both courts, each for different things. For example, if you're married, you could:
- get most of your orders (such as parenting and child support orders) in Provincial Court, and
- apply for your divorce order in Supreme Court.
Using both courts might save you time and money, especially if you and your spouse agree about doing things this way.
Which court can give you the orders you need?
|Only Supreme Court can give orders...||Both Supreme Court and Provincial Court can give orders...|
What are the differences between the courts?
|Supreme Court||Provincial Court|
Need more help deciding where to file your case?
See Where to go and Who to call to find out who can help you.
Some terms in the Divorce Act changed on March 1, 2021
Effective March 1, 2021, the federal Divorce Act uses terms similar to those in the BC Family Law Act.
- The terms decision-making responsibility and parenting time replaced "custody."
- The terms contact and parenting time replaced "access."
Leila explains how she and her ex decided which court to take their family issues to in our illustrated short story, Which court to go to?