After disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, BC courts are open and legal advisors are working. Help is available although it may be over the phone or online, instead of in person.
Try to work out an agreement together
It’s always a good idea to try to work out an agreement together. Staying out of court will save you a lot of time, money, energy, and stress. The court system is still under strain because of COVID-19, so it’s even more important to find solutions together if you can.
Support makes a difference
Separation can be difficult, confusing, and stressful. It’s a good idea to have support as you go through it.
If you can, ask your family and friends for support. You might also be able to get support from a counsellor, therapist, legal advisor, clergy person, or support group.
COVID-19 makes getting support a little more complicated, but support is still available.
This booklet describes the emotional aspects of separating from your spouse during the pandemic and suggests ways you and your children can cope. An extensive list of where to find support services is also included.
Writing a separation agreement
See Who can help you reach an agreement for more information about writing an agreement with help from a lawyer, family justice counsellor, or mediator.
You can write your own agreement using our online services:
- The Family Resolution Centre at MyLaw BC can help you make parenting and child support arrangements. You can get free help from a professional mediator to resolve any disagreements.
- Our Write your own separation agreement guide can help you make a separation agreement without going to court.
Get legal help
You should each get legal advice before you sign an agreement you write yourselves. This is especially important now because COVID-19 has affected property values and incomes.
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
Unbundled legal services are a good option if you want help with certain tasks but not with your whole case.
Knowledge is power
The more you know about your legal situation, the better prepared you will be. Knowing what is required, what the law says, and how the process works can reduce your stress and make you feel more confident.
Divorce without court
You can get a divorce without going to court, if you have settled all your separation issues.
- Our free step-by-step guides can help you do your own uncontested divorce.
- The Online Divorce Assistant, a free tool from the BC government, helps you fill out all the forms you need for your joint uncontested divorce.
See Supreme Court during COVID-19 for more information about Court operations and mandatory health and safety practices.