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Common Questions

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

Last reviewed February 2021 by the Clicklaw Editors.

Note: For information about the new Divorce Act, see How do the changes to the Divorce Act affect me?

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:

  • From People's Law School, Guardianship, Parenting Arrangements, and Contact explains the options available for both married and unmarried parents.
  • From Legal Aid BC, Living Together or Living Apart explains family law basics in BC. The chapter "If you have children" includes parenting arrangements, contact and moving with a child.
  • From Legal Aid BC, MyLawBC Family Mediation Tool 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?

  • From Legal Aid BC, Family LawLINE provides legal advice about family law issues for low-income people.
  • From the provincial government, Family Justice Centres 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 pro-bono. Contact the mediator to enquire.
  • From BC Family Law Unbundling Roster, Unbundled Legal Services provides a directory of lawyers offering unbundled services.
  • From Access Pro Bono, Lawyer Referral Service 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:

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