Get an order about priority parenting matters

Provincial Court

You're dealing with a priority parenting matter when you and the other guardian disagree about:

  • important time-sensitive or emergency medical treatment for a child,
  • one of you applying for an item like a passport, licence, permit, or benefit that is important to the child's safety or well-being,
  • a child's upcoming travel or activity, or
  • a child's removal from or return to a specific area in BC.

You can apply for a court order about a "priority parenting matter" in these situations.

It's also a time-sensitive matter when there's been a change or planned change of where the child lives that would have a big impact on the child's relationship with the other guardian. This usually makes it difficult or impossible to follow existing parenting arrangements.

  • If you don't have an existing parenting order or agreement, you want an order about a priority parenting matter.
  • If you already have an order or agreement, see Relocation at the end of the page.

Applying for orders about priority parenting matters — with notice

To apply to a judge to get, change, or end an order about a priority parenting matter, you must file an Application About Priority Parenting Matter (Form 15), and any supporting evidence or documents.

Then you must let the other person know, by serving them with the application and supporting documents at least seven days before the date set for the court appearance. (It can be less if the court has given you permission for "short notice.")

Depending on the address for service in the court file for the person you're serving, you can:

  • drop off the documents at their address,
  • mail the documents by regular or registered mail, or
  • email or fax the documents.

This is called "ordinary service." If there's no address for service, you must serve the documents by arranging for an adult who's not involved in the case to leave the documents with the person to be served (called "personal service"), unless otherwise ordered. You will have to fill out the Certificate of Service (Form 7) and bring it to court. See the guide Serve Provincial Court documents by ordinary or personal service.

You can give evidence at the hearing with a sworn affidavit or by speaking your evidence. See What to include in an affidavit or bring to court.

Applying for orders about priority parenting matters — without notice

You may apply for an order about a priority parenting matter without notice (without letting the other person know). It may be a good idea to not give the other person notice if you think that they may take irreversible action or harm you or your child if they know you're going to court.

To apply to a judge to get, change, or end an order about a priority parenting matter, you must file an Application About Priority Parenting Matter (Form 15), an Application for Case Management Order Without Notice or Appearance (Form 11), and any supporting evidence or documents.

You can give evidence at the hearing with a sworn affidavit or by speaking your evidence.

You'll likely be able to have a hearing with a judge on the same day. Note that a judge may decide that the other person should be given notice.

Relocation

You can apply for an order to stop the relocation of a child.

If there's already a written agreement or order about parenting arrangements or contact, complete an Application for Order Prohibiting the Relocation of a Child (Form 16).

If you don't have an agreement or order, follow the steps above for applying for orders about priority parenting matters with or without notice.

When you go to the court registry to file the application (Form 16), the registry clerk will give you a date for the court appearance. This will go on your application. At least seven days before this date, you must serve (give to) the other person:

  • a copy of Form 16,
  • a copy of your existing order or agreement, and
  • the notice of relocation that the other person gave you.

Depending on the address for service in the court file for the person you're serving, you can:

  • drop off the documents at their address,
  • mail the documents by regular or registered mail, or
  • email or fax the documents.

This is called "ordinary service." If there's no address for service, you must serve the documents by arranging for an adult who's not involved in the case to leave the documents with the person to be served (called "personal service"), unless otherwise ordered.

You'll have to fill out the Certificate of Service (Form 7) and bring it to court. See the guide Serve Provincial Court documents by ordinary or personal service.