Get a family order in Provincial Court if you both agree

Provincial Court

Introduction

Court operations during COVID-19

Because of COVID-19, many conferences, hearings, and proceedings are being held by phone or videoconference at this time. For more information, see:

Use this guide if you want to get a new order that you both agree about.

If you and the other person can agree about how to settle your issues, you can get interim (temporary) or final orders without going to a trial. This is called getting orders by consent.

Getting a family order when you both agree is easier and less stressful than going to a trial, and you usually don’t have to appear before a judge.

It’s a good idea to get legal advice about your specific situation, especially if you’re not sure you want to agree to what the other person wants. Orders are hard to change, so make sure a lawyer has looked at your order before you sign it. Family duty counsel can help you with this if you can’t afford a lawyer.
If you’re already in a court process, you can apply for a consent order at any time, even if you’ve seen a judge.
Child support cases in Kelowna
If you're going to Kelowna Provincial Court to apply for a child support order, read our Child Support page for important information.

Get legal help

It's a good idea to get some legal help before you use this guide. If you can't afford a lawyer, you can get legal help in other ways, including:

Staff at Justice Access Centres in Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver, and Victoria can also answer your questions and help you fill out forms.

For information about legal aid, see the Legal Aid BC website.

Fill out the forms

You'll need:

 

To get Provincial Court forms, you can:
  • download PDF forms from the links above and fill them out on your computer,
  • print the PDF forms and fill them out in pen, or 
  • ask for printed forms at your local Family Court registry.
If you need help with these forms, see Where can you get help with filling out court forms?.

Fill out your forms

Your Application for a Family Law Matter Consent Order must give the judge enough information to support your request, especially if parenting and support are involved. Make sure you fill out the correct schedules in Form 17 and give as much detail as possible.

It’s a good idea to have a lawyer write your Consent Order. They’ll use the Provincial Court’s Family Law Act Orders Picklist. The picklist includes commonly used terms to use in the courtroom. Copy them into your order and change them to meet your needs.

If you write your own Consent Order, have a lawyer look at your order before you submit it to a judge. Duty counsel or a free legal service can make sure your order is thorough and complete.

If you're applying to get a support order, each of you has to file a Financial Statement with your application. See Complete a Provincial Court Financial Statement (Form 4) for step-by-step instructions.

If you're applying to get or change guardianship of a child, you have to file a Guardianship Affidavit with your application. See How can you become a child’s guardian for step-by-step instructions.

Swear the financial statement and guardianship affidavit

You'll need:

  • your completed Financial Statement (Form 4) and all attachments
  • your completed Guardianship Affidavit (Form 5) and all attachments
  • photo identification such as a
    • BC identity card,
    • driver’s licence, or
    • passport.
If you're not applying to change a support order or you aren't required to file a Financial Statement (Form 4), go directly to Step 3.

If you have to file a financial statement or a guardianship affidavit, you must swear that the information in it and any supporting documents is true.

Take your documents to the courthouse. Registry staff will check your documents to be sure you’ve completed them correctly.

A person at the registry can swear the form and then file it for you. There is no fee for swearing or filing your documents.

You can use a lawyer or notary to swear your documents if you prefer. They will charge for this service.
You can’t change the financial statement after it’s sworn. So it’s a good idea to have the registry staff review your completed financial statement before you sign it and have it sworn.

Make copies of the documents

You'll need:

  • all the forms you filled in, and any attachments

Make three complete sets of the forms you prepared in Step 1.

Some of the booklets of forms from the Family Court Registry contain all the copies you need. Others contain just one copy, that you'll have to photocopy. If you download the forms, you'll need to make copies of all of them.

Keep all the original forms (with any attachments) as one set. This will be the set that you give to the registry. Then make two sets of photocopies:

  • A set for you 
  • A set for the other person

File the documents

You'll need:

  • all three sets of copies of your completed documents
You must file your documents at the court registry that is:
  • where an existing case between you is filed, or
  • closest to where your child lives most of the time, if the case involves a child, or
  • closest to where you live, if the case doesn’t involve a child.

Take the completed forms (and the copies you made of them) to the Family Court Registry.

Give the documents to the registry clerk. (If the registry clerk doesn't accept your documents, find out why and get some legal advice.)

The registry clerk keeps one set of the documents for the court file copy. They stamp the other copies and return them to you.

Provincial (Family) Court doesn't charge a filing fee for applications.

Wait for the judge’s response

A judge reviews your filed documents. 

The judge may approve and sign your order if they are satisfied that your order is appropriate and that you and the other person agree.

If the judge isn't satisfied or needs more information, registry staff will contact you to tell you that you have to appear before a judge and ask for the order (see Step 6).

Appear at the registry if needed

If the judge wants more information or has concerns about the arrangements you've agreed to, one or both of you may be asked to appear before the judge to explain your application.

If this happens, bring along copies of all your completed forms and financial records so you can explain your application.

Speak to family duty counsel or a lawyer before you appear in front of the judge.

Receive the consent order

If the judge is satisfied with your application, they’ll sign it. Registry staff will send you a certified copy of the consent order.

The order is effective as soon as the judge makes it.


You've now gone through all the steps required to get a family order by consent in Provincial Court.

Thank you for using our step-by-step guide.