Nothing is more stressful than having to fight to spend time with your children. If you feel depressed, suicidal, or just need someone to talk to, you can call them 24/7 at 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE).
This is like the Yellow Pages of government and social services. If you’re looking for things like counseling for you or your kids, legal advice, the nearest courthouse, you name it, this is the place to start. You can call them 24/7 by dialing 211, or you can search for services on their website.
Run by the provincial government, these centres are located in towns across the province. If you are having family law troubles this should be your first stop. Cost-free services include free mediation, legal information, and referrals to local resources such as counselling and free or low-cost legal advice.
This is an online guide to family law in BC. It’s written in plain language, and it’s kept up to date by lawyers. Easy to understand explanations of the laws and step-by-step guides for things such as making a court application or preparing for a trial. If you’re representing yourself, this is your bible.
They run the Lawyer Referral Service. This service connects people with lawyers, but more importantly it entitles you to a half-hour consultation with a lawyer (usually over the phone) for $25 plus tax. To access the service call 1-800-663-1919.
If you are in Vancouver this organization provide several programs to help self-represented people fill in legal forms.
This is a free three-hour course provided by the BC government. It is focused on reducing conflict and making separation easier for children. Every separated parent should take this course, but most courthouses in the province also require that you complete it before you can make a family law application. To take it in-person contact your local Justice Access Centre, or you can take it online here.
If you were married the court will decide your case using the federal Divorce Act. If you were not married the court will use the provincial Family Law Act. The BC government has produced some useful documents explaining what the Family Law Act actually means.
This is the online database of caselaw in Canada. Courts make decisions based on the decisions that have come before them. Use this database to find out what the legal precedents are in cases like yours..
These are the offices in courthouses where you file legal documents. The clerks who work in them are often highly knowledgeable. If you are seeking advice some of them are also very helpful, though others are reluctant to give any advice. If you are wondering what forms you need to fill out, how to file a motion and serve it correctly, how the court process works, ect, asking the staff at the registry is a good place to start. To find a court registry near you follow the link above.
If you need a lawyer and are trying to sort the professionals from the ambulance chasers this site is a gem. It allows you search for lawyers by geography and specialty. Clients provide ratings and reviews. If you have had a good or bad experience with a lawyer do the next person a favor and leave a rating.
Based out of Vancouver, this group is run by a man who is a passionate about helping parents who are being separated from their children by narcissistic ex-spouses and family courts. He helps parents through the court process, helps them deal with MCFD, fight back against alienation, ect. He is passionate and he is a pitbull. If you think he can help you do yourself a favor and reach out to him on Facebook.
In most cases the courts determine child support using a formula written into federal law and calculated using this online tool. To find out how much support should be paid just put your information into the calculator. If you share parenting time (between 40 and 60 percent of overnights are with you) then calculate how much you would owe the other parent if the kids were always with them, then calculate how much the other parent would owe you if the kids were always with you. Eg if you would owe $400 and the other parent would owe $300 you do the math ($400-$300=$100) and know you should be paying the other parent $100 dollars.
If you feel like you child’s interests are not being represented in family court, this service can provide a free lawyer to represent your child and advocate for them in court. The centre can be reached at 1-877-462-0037.
If you are dealing with a high conflict parent, The High Conflict Institute offers all kinds of online courses, articles, and webinars to help you deal with them. Something that is especially useful is this free article on how to respond to angry emails and texts.