Making mediation happen in a family law case in Supreme Court

Supreme Court

If you've started a case in Supreme Court, you can make your spouse go to a mediation session by serving them with a Notice to Mediate.

Going to mediation might save you time and money, because you might be able to sort out some of your issues before you go to court. Mediators are specially trained to help you do this.

You have to serve the Notice to Mediate between:

  • 90 days after the Response is filed, and
  • 90 days before the trial date.

Once the Notice to Mediate has been served on your spouse, they have to go to a mediation session unless:

  • you've already had a mediation session about your issues;
  • one of you has a family law protection order or peace bond against the other;
  • the mediator thinks that mediation:
    • isn't appropriate, or
    • wouldn't be useful or helpful;
  • the court says it would be impractical or unfair to make one of you go; or
  • you both agree in writing that one of you doesn't have to go to mediation (for example, if the person who serves the notice changes their mind after they hear about the other person's objection), and the mediator confirms that in writing after speaking to you and the other person, or after your pre-mediation meeting.

You and your spouse choose a mediator together. To find a mediator:

You have 14 days to choose a mediator. If you can't agree on one, Mediate BC will choose one for you.

You and your spouse have to pay the mediator. But you have to sort out how you're going to share the cost yourselves. The mediator won't do that for you.

If the person served with the Notice to Mediate says they won't go to mediation, you can make a court application and ask the judge to order that the other person go to mediation. The court can order them to pay costs to the person who applied for the mediation.

See Notice to Mediate (Family) Regulation on the BC government website, or contact the Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver, or Victoria Justice Access Centre to find out more about mediation.

Get help talking it through

Clare hears how a mediator can help her and her ex settle their issues, in our illustrated short story, Talking it through

Illustration to introduce story


Updated on 3 February 2022