How to Start your Divorce or Family Law Case in BC Supreme Court?

What Form to Use?

To start your divorce or family law case you need to:

  1. complete the Notice of Family Claim form
  2. go to the BC court registry that is closet to your location and file it
  3. serve the other party with the Notice of Family Claim

What to Include in Your Notice of Family Claim?

In your Notice of Family Claim, you may include claims for:

  • Divorce
  • Parenting (guardianship/custody, parenting arrangements, parental responsibilities)
  • Child Support
  • Spousal Support
  • Division of family property and debt
  • Determination of excluded property

If you are claiming a divorce, you may also include a claim for name change. You can also ask for a financial restraining order, protection order, and other orders in your Notice of Family Claim.

It is important that you clearly set out your claims in your Notice of Family Claim because you can only amend it once prior to the filing of the notice of trial without needing to get the court’s permission. If you fail to claim something that is important and you do not amend your Notice of Family Claim, the judge may refuse to hear you on that claim (i.e. if you miss to claim property division in your Notice of Family Claim, the court may refuse to address your claims for property division on the basis that you failed to claim it in your Notice of Family Claim).

It is always prudent to speak to a lawyer before filing your Notice of Family Claim to ensure that you have prepared your done it correctly.

How to Serve the Other Side?

Someone other than you needs to hand a copy of the filed Notice of Family Claim to the other side. You may want to ask a family member or a friend to server the other party or you can hire a process server to do this for you. The person who serves the other party needs to swear an affidavit for service, which sets out when and where the other side was served, the document that was served, and how that person knows the other side. The Affidavit of service needs to be filed with the court.