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Common Questions

We can't agree about who the children should live with

Last reviewed in November 2019 by Clicklaw Editors

When a couple with children separates, they must make important decisions about the children. They must decide where the children will now live and how each parent can continue to be involved in their lives. 

Good starting points include:

  • Custody and Access, Guardianship, Parenting Arrangements and Contact, from People's Law School, discusses the options available for both married and unmarried parents.
  • Living Together or Living Apart, from Legal Services Society, explains the basics of family law in BC. The chapter "If you have children" includes parenting arrangements, contact and moving with a child.
  • MyLawBC Family Mediation Tool, from Legal Services Society, is an online tool that helps parents work together to make a parenting plan. It includes a free service from a family mediator to help with creating the plan. Mediators will do an initial screening to decide if online mediation is appropriate.

If there is abuse in the family, see the common question What happens with parenting of the children in cases of spousal abuse?

Need more help?

  • Family LawLINE, from Legal Services Society, provides legal advice about family law issues for low-income people.
  • 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.
  • Mediate BC has a directory of qualified family mediators. Some mediators may offer services on a sliding scale or probono. Contact the mediator to enquire.
  • Unbundled Legal Services, from BC Family Law Unbundling Roster, provides a directory of lawyers offering unbundled services.
  • Lawyer Referral Service, from Access Pro Bono, helps you connect with a lawyer for a free initial consultation of up to 30 minutes.
  • Find more help near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

custody of children, parenting arrangements, parenting plan, contact, rights of children & teens