COVID-19 updates — separation and divorce

COVID-19 Updates Separation

BC courts are open and have lifted many of the measures that were put in place to control the spread of Covid-19 at courthouses. Help is available online, by phone, or 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.

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 has been impacted by 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 during this phase of Covid-19.

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.

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 Covid-19 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 information about writing an agreement with help from a lawyer, family justice counsellor, or mediator.

You can write your own agreement. See Write your own separation agreement guide, which 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:

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.

During this phase of COVID-19, you can communicate with a legal advisor in a few different ways, including by phone, videoconference, or in person. When you contact a legal advisor, be sure to ask how you will be communicating 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

You can get a divorce in BC Supreme Court without having to make a court appearance if you have settled all your separation issues.

Supreme Court registries are open and accepting filings in person or remotely by email, mail, fax (to fax filing registries), or by Court Services Online where available.

See Supreme Court during COVID-19 for up-to-date information about court operations.