If you can’t resolve your family law issues with help from a free mediator on the Family Resolution Centre, you can get other help to work out your differences.

Mediation

Here are a few ways to find a mediator:

  • If you know someone who used a mediator and was happy with them, ask for the mediator’s name and contact information.
  • Contact a family justice counsellor. Their services include free mediation for families experiencing separation and divorce.
  • Use Mediate BC to find a qualified family mediator and learn about mediation and how it works.
  • Visit Family Mediation Canada to find information about qualified family mediators.
  • Call the Lawyer Referral Service to get the name and contact information of a lawyer who is also trained as a mediator. The lawyer will talk with you for 30 minutes in person, by phone, or by videoconference. This meeting is free.
  • Type “family mediator” and the name of your area into an online search engine.

Legal help

Legal Aid BC

Call our Provincial call centre to find out if you qualify for the services below.

Greater Vancouver: 604-408-2172
Elsewhere in BC: 1-866-577-2525

Free legal advice

You may be able to get legal advice from family lawyers called duty counsel. Family duty counsel lawyers are available only by phone at this time. Lawyers won't be at courthouses. For contact information, please see Duty counsel lawyers for family law matters on the Legal Aid BC website.

Family LawLINE

You may also be able to get free legal advice from a family lawyer over the phone. If you qualify you’ll get brief “next step” advice. To find out if you’re eligible, call the Legal Aid BC Call Centre during the hours below.

  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 9 am to 3 pm
  • Wednesdays: 9 am to 2:30 pm

A free lawyer to take your case

If family violence is an issue, you may be able to get a lawyer to take your case.

Access Pro Bono Society of BC

You may be able to get free legal advice or help preparing for court. These services are for people who don’t qualify for legal aid but can’t afford a lawyer.

Greater Vancouver: 604-878-7400
Elsewhere in BC: 1-877-762-6664

Unbundled Legal Services

See the Unbundled Legal Services website for a list of family lawyers in BC who can provide you with limited legal services at reasonable rates if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case. You can hire a lawyer to take part of your case, and then handle the rest yourself.

Child Support Officers

Child support officers help parents make agreements about child support or get child support orders. They provide free information and referrals, and they help with negotiations. For more information about child support officers, call:
Kelowna: 250-712-3636 or 1-888-227-7734 (call no charge)
Nanaimo: 250-741-5447
Surrey: 604-501-8282
Vancouver: 604-660-2084
Victoria: 250-356-7012

Family Justice Counsellors

Family justice counsellors are specially trained to help families resolve their issues about guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact with a child, and support.

Family justice counsellors work in Family Justice Centres and Justice Access Centres throughout British Columbia. They provide services to people going through separation and divorce. There is no charge for their services.

Justice Access Centres

Staff in these offices help you get the information you need to prepare for your family law case. They provide free advice, mediation and referrals, and help you fill out forms. Justice Access Centres are in Abbotsford, Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver, and Victoria.

Abbotsford: 604-851-7055
Nanaimo: 250-741-5447 or 1-800-578-8511 (call no charge)
Surrey: 604-501-3100 (for Early Resolution Process (ERP) appointments, call 604-501-8282)
Vancouver: 604-660-2084
Victoria: 250-356-7012

In Canada and the US, call 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be transferred to the number above for the Justice Access Centre you need.

Lawyer Referral Service

The Lawyer Referral Service can help you find a lawyer, including a collaborative family lawyer. They’ll give you the name and number of a lawyer who practises family law. You’ll have to phone the lawyer to make an appointment. You can meet with the lawyer for 30 minutes to explain your situation. This meeting is free.

Greater Vancouver: 604-687-3221
Elsewhere in BC: 1-800-663-1919

Hours
8:30 am – 5 pm (Monday – Friday)

You can also email.


Parenting After Separation courses

Parenting After Separation is a free online course that provides information to parents, guardians, and other family members who are dealing with family issues due to a separation or divorce. The course explains the emotional experience of separation for children and adults, and how to co-parent positively. It includes information about the separation process and how to get help, the legal terminology used in agreements and in courts, family violence and safety planning, and more.

The course is available to BC parents and other family members dealing with separation and divorce. You can take Parenting After Separation or Parenting After Separation for Indigenous Families. A family justice counsellor can give you information about the courses and how to register.

Parenting After Separation: Finances

The Justice Education Society offers a free online course called Parenting After Separation: Finances. This course helps separated parents resolve financial issues resulting from separation.


Free publications about family law

Legal Aid BC has several publications about family law to help you through separation and divorce.

Family Law in BC: Quick Reference Tool

This set of postcards introduces you to family law in BC. Each card covers different legal aspects of separation.

Living Together or Living Apart

This booklet explains the basics of family law in BC. It has information about the legal aspects of separation and your options.

Separation Agreements: Your Rights and Options

This booklet explains the law about the fair division of family property or debt when you separate. It tells you what to do if you think your agreement might be unfair.


Family law online

Family Law in BC

This website has comprehensive information on family law in BC, including separation and divorce. It has step-by-step guides to walk you through legal processes, including links to the forms you need.

Families Change

This website has information for children and for parents. It tells you what to expect from the divorce or separation process. And it has information on how you can take care of yourself and your children.