Using the Family Resolution Centre

The Family Resolution Centre is 100% free! We won't ask for any payment information, and there are no paid premium features. If you're happy with our service, we gratefully accept donations here.

Yes. You can use any computer that's connected to the Internet. If you use a public computer, such as at a library or hotel business centre, remember to log off your session to protect the private information.

You and the other person each need a working email address and access to a computer with an Internet connection.

If you're making child support or spousal support arrangements, you need detailed tax and financial records from the last three years.

If you’re making spousal support arrangements, you must first have worked out support for any dependent children and divided any property and debt.

Yes, because you want them to participate and be involved! Once you finish intake, the system will send an email inviting the other person to make an account and join in the process. If they know you're using the Family Resolution Centre, the email won’t come as a surprise.

If you're unsure how to approach the other person about this, see How to get the other person involved for ideas about to reach out. Your mediator can also help you reach out to the other person.

If you’re making parenting or child support arrangements, the children and at least one parent must live in BC.

If you're making spousal support arrangements, both of you must live in BC.

A relationship with a balance of power is one where both people can contribute their thoughts, opinions, and feelings equally. We built the Family Resolution Centre with the idea of two people having a conversation on an equal footing. If there is an imbalance of power, one person can dominate and control the conversation and overrule what the other person wants.

Before you start the Family Resolution Centre, you can assess your situation to see if you have equal power in the relationship. Mediators will also evaluate balance of power and use techniques to give make sure both of you are being heard and that the outcomes are reasonable.

First, they should check to see if the invitation email is in their junk mail or spam folder. If it isn't there, email their name and email address to FamilyResolutionCentre@legalaid.bc.ca and we'll send another invitation.

There a few options for you if you get stuck navigating the Family Resolution Centre. You can try using our User Guide, or you can contact Program Support at FamilyResolutionCentre@legalaid.bc.ca.

Our How to get the other person involved page includes helpful tips on reaching out to the other person. Or you can ask your Family Resolution Centre mediator to help bring the other person into the process.

If the other person refuses to use the Family Resolution Centre, you can find more help on the Family Law in BC website.

Yes! Sign in, and click the “hamburger menu” (three horizontal lines) at the top left of the screen, then choose the kind of arrangements you want to make. You have to fill out the forms again.


Making parenting arrangements

Parenting arrangements cover critical aspects of your child's life, such as how you make decisions about your child’s well-being, who takes care of your child and when, and who can transport your child. You can make a schedule and write in exceptions and special rules as you write parenting arrangements.

Yes, you can. For example, you can include a paragraph saying that any travel arrangements are subject to BC public health orders and recommendations (you can specify if you want), including social distancing, essential travel, masking, and hand washing.

Yes, you can propose additional terms and special circumstances, including plans for a specific trip.

Yes, you can. Here’s an example: Parent A and Parent B agree that Parent A will have weekends with the child when Parent A is not working, as agreed upon between them once Parent A's schedule is available. For summer and Fall of 2021, Parent A and Parent B agree that Parent A will have the following weekends with [child/children]: (list dates.)


Financial information and calculating support

Speak to your mediator about options and how to proceed. You might have to go to court if you don’t have enough financial disclosure.

Discuss it with the other person or with your mediator. Your mediator can also help you have the discussion with the other person and come to an agreement about the income that should be used for calculating support.


Making child support arrangements

A child support agreement covers who pays child support, how much, how they pay it, and a payment schedule. You can decide how you pay for special or extraordinary expenses such as healthcare premiums, educational fees, and extracurricular activities such as sports league payments.

It might! Child support can continue past age 19 if your child is attending school or can't take care of themselves because of disability, illness, or other reasons.

Read more: When does child support end? on the Family Law in BC website.

Yes, but you might have to apply to court to become the child’s guardian first to work out the parenting arrangements. You can also use the Family Resolution Centre in other situations for stepchildren, such as working out child support. It can be complicated, but the mediator can help guide you.

Read more: Step-parents' rights and responsibilities on the Family Law in BC website.

Yes, but it will take some manual work. Once you have used the Family Resolution Centre to determine the monthly child support amount, you can calculate what you are owed in outstanding child support payments. You can then use the "Special and extraordinary expenses" or "Additional terms" sections to add the amount to your agreement.


Making spousal support arrangements

In the Family Resolution Centre, you can work out spousal support after you have resolved your other family law issues, including making parenting and child support arrangements for your children, and dividing your shared property and debts.

Working out spousal support in BC can be complex. There are many factors to consider at the end of an emotional and economic partnership, such as

  • decisions you both made during the relationship that affected your economic situation,
  • the effect of separation on each person’s economic situation, and
  • the obligation to try to become self-supporting after your separation or divorce, if possible.

In some cases, one of you might need some additional support while you're working to become self-supporting or might need long-term support.

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines include a calculator that helps you work out a range for both the amount of monthly spousal support and how long support should be paid.

The way you divide property and debt can also be a factor.

This is different for everyone. You can talk about it and agree on when it should end. Spousal support can end when the receiving spouse becomes self-supporting, or when some other event occurs, such as the children start school full time or the paying spouse can no longer work because of a major illness.

Because it can sometimes be difficult to predict when a spouse will become self-supporting, or if income changes, it’s a good idea to set a date to review support. This can be done every year or when a significant event occurs, such as the children entering school full time or turning 19.

If support is paid monthly or periodically, rather than as a single payment, usually the person paying support gets a deduction and the person receiving support includes the spousal support in their income. This is different form child support, which is tax-neutral.


Working with a mediator

Mediation is a way for you to try to resolve an issue without having to go to court. A family law mediator is specially trained to help people settle their family law conflicts. The mediator doesn’t take sides and won't make decisions for you.

The mediator will speak to each of you privately first to make sure they understand your situation, what’s important to you, and if mediation through the Family Resolution Centre is appropriate. They will help you and the other person talk through your disagreements and find a solution that works for your family. They create a safe, confidential, and communicative process to help you reach an agreement with the other person.

If you and the other person can work things out yourselves, you don’t need to talk to a mediator at all.

But if you want help with the Family Resolution Centre, you can contact a mediator in the chat right away! It might take a few days for a mediator to become available for your case, but it's okay to wait for a reply before you get started. Make sure to pay attention to any deadlines at the top of the page. If a deadline is coming up, you can ask for an extension.

While a mediator can help answer your questions, they need to engage with both of you before they can mediate. It can be helpful for a mediator to read proposed agreements from you and the other person, so they can understand where you're both coming from at the start.


If you both agree: next steps

Congratulations! It’s a good idea to have a lawyer look at your agreement before you sign it.

If a mediator helped you negotiate the agreement, go to this page to print a signature page to add to your agreement.

If you didn't have a mediator's help, your arrangements will already have the signature lines for you both to sign.

You need access to a printer and someone over the age of 19 to witness the agreement.


If you can’t both agree: next steps

If you and the other person can't agree about all your issues, you can invite a mediator into the process. The mediator will review each of your proposals and help you come to an agreement. This free mediation can help you work through your disagreements.

If you still can't agree after working with your mediator, you can get a summary of the work you've done to that point. Your mediator can refer you to other resources or services that can help you.

If you or the other person ends the session, you both lose access to the chat in Talk it out. You can still see the summary of your proposals, which you can download from the Files tab. You can share your own proposal, but you must keep the other person’s proposal confidential. If you're working with a mediator, they'll try to help with next steps or referrals.

Your mediator can draft arrangements just about parenting for you both to sign. You can also ask for a certificate confirming that you’ve tried consensual dispute resolution (CDR), if you need to go to court to get orders about child support and the court is an Early Resolution registry.


Troubleshooting

On the Family Resolution Centre login page, click the Forgot password? button, and follow the instructions to reset your password.

Check your Spam or Junk folder first. If the emails are not there, then notify MyLawBC@legalaid.bc.ca and provide them with a different email address to use.

This is likely because of an interruption in your Internet connection. Try refreshing your browser. If that doesn’t work, log off and then log back in. If the comment still doesn’t show up, type it again.

Your chats can be as long as you like. There's no character or word limit. It's a good idea to keep to one idea per chat, to help you both focus on the issue you're discussing.


Privacy, confidentiality, and security

Protecting your personal information is our top priority.

We keep all the information you give us on secure servers in Canada. These servers follow the ISO 27001 security standard to make sure your information is safe.

For more details on how we store and use your information, see our Privacy Policy.

No. Only the mediator can see your chats in the private chat room called Your name/Mediator.

The other person will see any files you upload to the main Activity/Chat window or the Files window. Files you upload in the intake process (like your ID) will only be seen by your mediator. (The other person won't see any of the information you typed in the intake process except your name.)

If you want to share a file with only your mediator, upload it to your private chat (called Your name/Mediator). This ensures that only you and your mediator can access the file.

No, they can't. When you’re exchanging proposals with the other person, there’s a general legal rule that says if you’re trying to reach a settlement with someone else in a legal dispute, your communications can’t be used against you in court. This rule is called settlement privilege. Any communications that can’t be used as evidence in court under this rule are privileged (can’t be used against you in court).

For more information about how settlement privilege works, see Can your spouse use your settlement talks against you in court? on the Family Law in BC website.

In mediation, there are strict confidentiality rules that you agree to before starting mediation. Those confidentiality rules also apply to people using the Family Resolution Centre even if you don’t choose to ask for a mediator (for example, you can’t screenshot, copy, or print any data).

All files are securely stored on Cloud servers in Canada.


Feedback and complaints

If you're not satisfied with the mediation services you received, we'd like to know. Email us:

  • Your full name
  • Your case number
  • A clear idea of your experience

We will follow up with you and try to resolve the situation.

If you are satisfied, we’d like to tell the mediator that, too!

Other complaint options

Mediate BC has set some of the highest Standards of Conduct for Mediators and Med-Arb Practitioners in Canada.

Mediate BC complaint process (PDF)