Court operations during COVID-19Because 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.
What the law says about parenting, support, and property
For more information, see:
- Contact: Spending time with a child
- Decision-making responsibility and parenting time
- Guardianship: Parenting time and parental responsibilities
- Parenting apart
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:
- Lawyer Referral Service
- free (pro bono) legal clinics
- family duty counsel
- family advice lawyers
- family justice counsellors
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
- an Application for a Family Law Matter Consent Order (Form 17)
- include only the schedules that apply to your situation
- a Consent Order (Form 18)
- a Financial Statement (Form 4) for each of you, if your application is for child or spousal support
- a Guardianship Affidavit (Form 5), if your application is about guardianship of a child
- 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.
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'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
- 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
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.
Make copies of the documents
- all the forms you filled in, and any attachments
Make three complete sets of the forms you prepared in Step 1.
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
- all three sets of copies of your completed documents
- 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.
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.
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.