You can separate from a partner, make a separation agreement, or get a divorce during this pandemic. Courts are open, legal advisors are working, and help is available.
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 under more strain during 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.
Our publication 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 Dialogue Tool at MyLawBC can help you and your partner write a separation agreement together online.
- The Family Resolution Centre at MyLaw BC can help you make a parenting plan. 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 during COVID-19, which has had a big effect on 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.