9.0 Introduction

If you find yourself lost in the woods, you’d want to consult your map. Figuring out where you are and where to go next saves you time, and energy. Similarly when you find yourself in the court process it’s important to have a map of where and what you will be facing. 

In BC, all family dispute cases begin when a claim is filed. Claims are either filed in the Provincial Court or Supreme Court. In Chapter 6, you learned about the differences between these courts. This chapter will take a closer look at each court and the steps involved in moving your case through those courts. 

Whether it’s Provincial or Supreme Court, one person starts the court process by filing and serving certain documents. If the other person wants to participate in the process, they must file and serve responding documents. Depending on the court and the issues in your case, the steps you follow will vary. You might be involved in both provincial and supreme court processes at the same time (e.g. you bring an application for property division in supreme and an application for parenting time in provincial).

Whether you are in Provincial or Supreme Court, you have the option to bring an application for an interim or temporary order. This is often used for urgent matters or time sensitive matters. For example, if you need child support payments, but don’t have a trial date till next year, you can ask for an order requiring temporary payment until the final judgement can be made at trial. It is also used to get orders to move the process along. For example, if the other person isn't giving you their financial documents, you can apply to court for an interim order for disclosure.    

You may find yourself involved in one, two, or all three of these processes. Because each process is slightly different, it’s important to understand the one you are involved in. This chapter will take you through a step by step guide, with expert tips, and worksheets for each process. This way, you will have a better understanding of the court system and how to prepare without getting lost in the court process.  

This chapter will deal with:

1) Provincial Court Process

2) Supreme Court Process

3) Interim Applications Process

Remember, Chapter 8 discussed how to write court forms and set out which forms to use in the Court Forms Chart. You will need these skills to follow the court process.