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If you and the other person agree on what you want in your family order, then you might not have to go to court.
Often both of you can agree on the terms of an order, especially for child support. This is partly because the child support guidelines set out quite clearly what amount of support must be paid.
The procedure for getting a family order when both of you agree is easier and less stressful than preparing for a hearing if you don't agree. It usually doesn't require you go to court.
It's a good idea to get legal advice about your specific situation before committing to an order in a family case.
If the judge has questions about your application, you might need to appear at the registry to answer questions.
You have three options if you want an interim consent order:
File an agreement at the court registry
At any time, if you and the other person agree on how to deal with parenting and support arrangements, you can:
- write down your agreement, and
- file a signed copy of this agreement at your local Provincial (Family) Court.
Sometimes this is called a separation agreement. This isn't a consent order, but it has a similar effect.
You don't have to start a court action to file your agreement. You just need to file your agreement, and you'll get a court file number.
Ask a Provincial Court judge for a consent order at any stage of the court process
- you've filed an Application to Obtain an Order (Form 1), and
- the other person responded by filing a Reply (Form 3).
Either you or the other person can ask the judge for the interim consent order:
- at the first appearance,
- at any other time you appear in court, or
- at a Family Case Conference.
Apply for a consent order (desk order)
You can apply for a consent order called a desk order at any time after a case has been started. A desk order is an order that a judge makes at their desk based on documents you submit. You don't need to go to court to get a desk order.
Once you receive a Reply (Form 3), you can apply for a consent order.
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.
It's great that you both agree what you want the court order to say. You'll save yourselves a lot of stress.
Complete the documents to apply for a consent order
- a Request (Form 18),
- a Consent (Form 19),
- a draft Consent Order (Form 20) containing the details of the order you want, and
- affidavits to support the order.
You can apply for a consent order at any time after:
- you have your Application to Obtain an Order,
- you have the required financial information, and
- the other person has filed a Reply and their financial information.
If you aren't sure what to put into your affidavit, see:
- Checklist of information to include in an affidavit or bring to court, and
- How do you write an affidavit?
About the forms
If you download the forms from the links above, you'll have to make several copies. If you use forms from the registry, the copies that you need are already included in some of the forms booklets.
The links to the forms above take you to PDF versions of the forms, along with instructions for completing them. You can either:
- fill out the forms online, or
- print them and fill them out neatly by hand, using dark-coloured ink.
- Where can you get help with filling out court forms?, and
- Find a court form for links to sample filled-out forms.
You might feel anxious about using the court forms, but it's just a matter of filling in certain facts. Take them one question at a time.
Make copies of the documents
- Three complete sets of the forms you prepared
Make copies of your completed forms:
- Request (Form 18)
- Consent (Form 19)
- draft Consent Order (Form 20)
- completed affidavits
Keep all the original forms (with any attachments) as one set. You'll give this set to the registry (the Court file copy).
You also need two sets of photocopies:
- A set for you (the Applicant’s copy)
- A set for the other person (the Respondent’s copy)
File the documents
- All three sets of your prepared documents
Take all three sets of your completed forms to the Family Court Registry and give them to the registry clerk.
The registry clerk will keep one set of documents for the court file copy. They'll stamp the other copies and return them to you.
If the registry clerk won't accept your documents, find out why and get some legal advice.
Wait for the judge's response to your application
Once you've completed and filed your documents at the court registry, a judge will review them.
The judge might approve and sign your order if they're satisfied that:
- your order is appropriate, and
- 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 5).
In all cases, but especially if parenting and support are involved, you must provide adequate information to the judge to support your request. The judge won't simply approve your forms.
Appear at the registry to explain your application (if necessary)
Court registry staff might ask one or both of you to appear before the judge to explain your application if:
- the judge doesn't think you've provided enough information, or
- the judge has concerns about the arrangements you've agreed to.
If this happens, bring along copies of all your completed forms and financial records so you can explain your application.
Receive a certified copy of the consent order
The judge will sign the order when they're satisfied that it's complete and correct. Registry staff will mail you a certified copy of the consent order.
The order is effective as soon as the judge makes it, unless the judge specifies a different date.
You've now gone through all the steps required to get an interim family order in Provincial Court. Thank you for using our step-by-step guide.
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