If you and your spouse are splitting up, it's a good idea to make a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a legal document that covers how you're going to deal with parenting, property, child and spousal support, and other family issues.

Whether you're married, in an unmarried spousal relationship (you might call it being in a common-law relationship), have a child together, or are a family member wanting time with a child, having an agreement about family law issues often means you can settle your issues without going to court. You'll save yourselves time, money, and emotional upset, and you'll keep control of important decisions that affect your family.

Making an agreement

Making an agreement when you live together

You and your spouse can make a written agreement (sometimes called a cohabitation or marriage agreement) while you're living together.

Making an agreement after you separate

When you separate or divorce, you need to work out how you'll deal with parenting, support, property, debt, and other family law issues. BC family law encourages couples to make agreements to solve family law issues without going to court. If you've separated, it can be hard to talk to each other, but it's worth trying to sort things out together.

Write your own separation agreement

You can use this step-by-step guide to create your own separation agreement. An agreement is a legal document that sets out how you and the other person have agreed to deal with things like parenting, support, and property after you separate.

Who can help you reach an agreement?

If you and your spouse can't work out an agreement together, there are people who can help you , including lawyers, mediators, and family justice counsellors.

Filing an agreement

You can file your agreement right away or later in either Supreme or Provincial Court. Filing your agreement can help if you think one of you might not follow what's in the agreement later. Choose a step-by-step guide below.

File your agreement in Provincial Court

File your agreement in Supreme Court

Changing an agreement

Family law issues such as child support and parenting time can change because your circumstances, the other person’s, or the child’s have changed. If you and the other person agree about changing your family law agreement, you can write a new one. If you don't agree, you may have a term in your agreement that says you need to try dispute resolution such as mediation. If you still can't agree, you'll have to get a court order to change or set aside all or part of your agreement.

How do you change an agreement?

How to change an agreement that was made after separation to deal with issues such as parenting, support, and/or property.

Enforcing an agreement or order

What happens if the other person doesn't follow an agreement or order?

If the other person doesn't follow a family law agreement (for support, parenting, property, or debt), you can ask the court to take certain steps.

What happens if you don't follow a parenting agreement or order?

If you don't do what's in your parenting order or agreement, the other person can apply to enforce it through the court.

Enforcing an order or agreement made in BC

You can use step-by-step guides to help you apply to the court for an enforcement order.