COVID-19 updates — separation and divorce

COVID-19 Updates Separation

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.

Legal Aid BC has limited representation services for family law issues to help people who wouldn't normally qualify for a legal aid lawyer. Lawyers give clients the help they need to prepare for mediation, negotiate a settlement, or represent themselves in court. These contracts don’t include divorce. Call Legal Aid BC to find out if you qualify.

Questions and answers - Separation and divorce

Information about separation and divorce during COVID-19.

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.

Coping with Separation during COVID-19

Cover of the publication "Coping with Separation during COVID-19"

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:

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:

Unbundled legal services are a good option if you want help with certain tasks but not with your whole case.

Mediation often costs much less than going to court. Choose a mediator from the roster at MediateBC to help you solve conflicts. Find out about their free monthly online clinics.

Because of COVID-19, many legal advisors are working remotely. Be sure to ask how you will be communicating (for example, by phone or by videoconference, or perhaps in person) when you ask about time and cost.

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.

Supreme Court registries are open and accepting filings in person. The court still prefers that you e-file documents using Court Services Online, or file by email, mail, or fax (to fax filing registries). 

See Supreme Court during COVID-19 for more information about Court operations and mandatory health and safety practices.