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Common Questions

How do the new Provincial Court Family Rules affect my family law matter?
Last reviewed on June 24, 2021, by the Clicklaw Editors.

On May 17, 2021, a new set of Provincial Court Family Rules started to take effect. Compared to the previous Rules, processes and forms have changed significantly to make things easier for you. Expect to see a more streamlined and managed court process. Newly redesigned court forms now use plain language and a conversational, question-and-answer approach.

What kinds of family matters are affected?

The rules apply in Provincial Court to:
  • Family Law Act (FLA) family law matters (parenting arrangements, child support, contact with a child, guardianship of a child, spousal support);
  • protection orders under the Family Law Act;
  • priority parenting matters;
  • relocation;
  • and enforcement, including enforcement of support orders under the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act.
The PCFR does not apply to child protection matters, adoption, divorce, property, or pension division.

What are some key points?

  • Know your registry. An existing case with the same parties can continue in the same registry. Still, you must file a new case (if the issue is child-related) in the registry closest to where your child lives most of the time. If there is no child-related issue involved, then the registry closest to where the filing party lives.
  • Subject-specific forms are replacing the Notice of Motion.
  • The Family Management Conference becomes the first step in court proceedings about family law matters to provide active case management and meaningful, better-utilized court appearances.
  • Priority matters, including protection orders, have distinct processes and forms to address those applications promptly.
What about the transition?

The new rules are effective province-wide on May 17, 2021. Cases started before that will carry on under the new rules. You must use the new forms as of May 17, 2021; the only exception is a short grace period allowed for the old version of the Reply and Financial Statement.

Good starting points

For an introduction, you can check out the following resources: About early resolution and the registries:
For more details, the Family Justice playlist on YouTube includes the following videos:
About family management conference:
  • BC Provincial Court's eNews: What can I expect at a Family Management Conference? Includes definitions, steps for preparing yourself, what will happen at the conference, what happens if you need a trial, getting a copy of an Order, and links to more details.
  • Family Law in BC website's A Conference Rehearsal. This short illustrated story explains how to prepare for a family management conference.
Also see the following resources:
Rules and forms

The new rules and forms are in BC Reg 120/2020, and section by section explanations of the new rules are in Provincial Court Family Rules (PCFR) Explained.

The new forms are available on the BC government website's provincial family court forms page (includes an online tool helping you fill out the forms). Also, additional information are available on the websites of the BC government, The Provincial Court of BC and Legal Aid BC's Family Law in BC website.

Need more help?

  • Family LawLINE, from Legal Aid BC, provides legal advice about family law issues for low-income people. 
  • Family Justice Centres, from the provincial government, operate across BC to provide services to British Columbians going through separation or divorce.
  • AC Friends of Court has legal forms workshops, helping you with drafting or filling out legal forms.
  • Find more services near you on Clicklaw HelpMap.

See our related common questions:

early resolution process