6.5 Court Rules

 Self-Rep's Tip:

If you come across a rule that you cannot understand, you should get help. A good place to start would be a Justice Access Centre or check out Free and Low Cost Legal Help in Chapter 4

In the last section, you learned more about the law that could apply to your case and the courts that could hear your case. It is important to choose the law and the court that applies to you.

In order to move your case forward in court, you will need to understand the law that applies. Once you have decided which court you are going to, you will need to follow the rules that apply to that court.

Take the rules seriously. They apply to everyone. The rules are the foundation for how the court system handles divorce or separation in British Columbia.

Judge's Tip:

Do not confuse the two sets of rules with each other:

For each court, there are family law rules that describe…

  • Who can file documents
  • What can you file
  • How to file
  • How much time do you have to file
  • What filing will cost
  • How to give (serve) your documents to the other person
  • What happens with orders
  • How to change documents you have filed

If you are unsure of how to do something during a court process you can turn to the rules for more information. Unfortunately the rules are a bit difficult to follow if you are not familiar with the court process.  

Lawyer’s Tip:

The rules might not always be followed. A judge has the ability to allow for variation on the rules, like extending a time period.

Don’t count on the judge changing the rules for you. Follow the rules.

Give reading them a try and if you need some help understanding them consult a professional.  Refer to Chapter 4 to learn about your Free or Low Cost Legal Help options.  

As a self-representing litigant, it is your responsibility to know and understand the rules. The judge can only give basic guidance at your trial.