Common Questions

Our marriage is over; do we have to go to court?

Going to court to settle separation and divorce issues is necessary for some couples, but not for most. Most separating and divorcing couples prefer to work together – sometimes with the help of a mediator or a lawyer trained in collaborative law – to settle things without going to court.

Good starting points include:

Need more help?

  • Family Justice Centres, from the provincial government, has family justice counsellors who can help parents resolve disagreements without going to court. They provide short-term counselling, mediation, and referrals, but not legal advice.
  • Family LawLINE, from Legal Services Society, provides legal advice about family law issues for low-income people.
  • Mediate BC has a list of qualified family mediators. Some mediators may offer services on a sliding scale or probono. Contact the mediator to enquire. 
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from CBA BC, helps you connect with a lawyer for an initial consultation of up to 30 minutes for $25 plus taxes. You may also ask for a collaborative family lawyer.
  • Pro Bono Collaborative Divorce Project, from BC Collaborative Roster Society, provides their service for parties who are willing to meet and negotiate using the principles of collaborative practice but are unable to afford the collaborative team for their case. Apply online to be considered.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

Last reviewed November 2017
tags
divorce & separation, staying out of court, mediation, collaborative law, resolving disputes without going to court, alternative dispute resolution