Family Law in British Columbia

Relationships, Children, Support, Property, Marriage, Cohabitation and Divorce

You may be reading this page because your marriage or relationship has broken down. No matter what the cause, you are likely to feel a whole range of intense emotions: sadness, anger, fear of an uncertain future, and confusion over the many decisions you must make.

We understand how hard this can be. Divorces are difficult. They cost time and money, health and happiness. Let us guide you through those intense emotions by providing you with clear legal advice and help you with your family law matter.

What decisions you must make?

The decisions you must make fall into four main areas – these are your children, your home and investments, your income, and your future. Some of the questions you may have are:

  • How will you parent?
  • Where will you live?
  • Where will the children live?
  • How will you survive financially?
  • What happens with your property, pensions and debts?
  • Will child support and spousal support be payable?
  • How do you get a divorce in British Columbia?
  • Must you go to court?
  • What options are available to help you?
  • How can you keep your family safe?

The first step is to identify your immediate needs and gather the necessary evidence to meet them. Once all necessary information is gathered and analyzed, sometimes agreement is almost within reach. Negotiating a formal and fair agreement as early as possible often makes sense from a financial perspective.

Therefore, being reasonable is essential. Knowing what is reasonable is critical.  As your family lawyer, Edith can help you find answers and guide you to make informed and reasonable decisions through informal settlement meetings and at mediation. Straight forward matters that are negotiated in good faith, with full disclosure of necessary information, can often be resolved in a few months.

However, sometimes agreement is just not possible. More complex matters and cases that involve partners/spouses who are high-conflict or who are unwilling to cooperate in the process or lack trust in their partner can take much longer and a need to be litigated. If it is a complex matter, high conflict, or marked by a failure to cooperate and a lack of trust it can take eighteen months to three years to resolve. 

At this time, Edith no longer takes on court work. Not only because the financial and emotional cost to her clients is high, but also because she has small children she wants to focus on.

If you can agree, the options are

Separation Agreements

You can make a separation agreement when you are thinking of separating or afterwards. You can decide on how children will be cared for, how pensions will be divided, how property and debt will be split, as well as child support or if there will be any spousal support. You will have to make full financial disclosure. It is advisable to get independent legal advice on any agreement.

For detailed information see our Separation Agreements page.

To fill out and submit a Separation Agreement Questionnaire to Nova Law, please click here

Desk Order Divorce

A desk order divorce is called an undefended or uncontested divorce. You can apply for a desk order divorce once you and your spouse have resolved any other family law issues. Either one spouse, or both together, can apply for a desk order divorce in BC Supreme Court. The process involves preparing and filing several court forms.

To fill out and submit a Desk Order Divorce Questionnaire to Nova Law, please click here

Cohabitation or Marriage Agreements

You can draw up a written agreement with your partner about how you want to arrange your finances and other aspects of your life together at any time – before or after you start to live together. Through the agreement, you can opt-out of the background law and choose your own arrangements for various aspects of your life.

An agreement between common-law spouses is called a cohabitation agreement and an agreement between married spouses is called a marriage agreement, or in some cases, a pre-nuptial agreement.

The process of drawing up an agreement can be helpful in working through key issues with your partner to establish a shared understanding, prevent future conflict and opt out of the background law which will provide each person with pre-set rights and responsibilities.

Family Law related services at Nova Law

Some of the Divorce and Family Law matters we help clients with are:

  • Divorce and Separation
  • Separation Agreements
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Marriage Agreements (commonly known as a prenup, prenuptial or premarital)
  • Child custody and access disputes
  • Child guardianship and parenting time disputes
  • Child Support and Spousal Support
  • Family property division
  • Family debt division
  • Pension division
Edith can help you with your family law matter

How much does it cost?

There are certain matters where we are able to charge a flat fee, such as for the preparation of desk order divorces, separation agreements, and marriage/cohabitation agreements. Please see our Value Based Flat Fees page for the types of services we will charge flat fees for.

In other matters, where negotiation and/or court applications are necessary estimating cost is more complicated and so discussing your matter with a lawyer is the best way to estimate costs.

The greater the hours that have to be devoted to the matter, the higher the fees. In such files, typically, a retainer is required which is an up-front deposit from which the lawyer pays interim accounts.  The amount of that retainer will usually depend on the complexity of the case.  Our firm renders accounts on a monthly basis, so our clients know what work was done and how much their file is costing to date. 

For further information on legal fees please see our Pricing page. 

Who shall I talk to?

For legal advice on divorce or family law issues, please contact Edith via email.

Let's talk! Your first 30 minute consultation is free.

Book an appointment online simply by selecting a date and time.