9.2 Early Resolution Steps

The first thing to figure out is what kind of registry your registry is. This will determine what kind of early resolution requirements you will need to take, if any, before you can make an appearance in court. 

Early Resolution Registries:  Surrey and Victoria

Family Justice Registries: Kelowna Nanaimo, Vancouver (Robson Square)

Parenting Education Program Registries: Abbotsford, Campbell River, Chilliwack, Courtenay, Kamloops, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Prince George, Richmon, and Vernon

All other registries: all other Provincial Court registries in BC not listed above

Possible early resolution requirements depending on registry

Type of registry where required

File a notice to resolve a family law matter

Early Resolution

Participate in a needs assessment

Early Resolution

 Family Justice

Complete a parenting education program

Early Resolution

Family Justice

Parenting Education Program

Participate in at least one consensual dispute resolution

Early Resolution

There are no mandatory early resolution steps for all other registries. Let’s take a deeper look at each of these processes:

Notice to resolve a family law matter: For Early Resolution Registries, the Notice to resolve a family law matter (Form 1) is the first form you have to file if your case is about parenting arrangements, child support, contact with a child, guardianship of a child, or spousal support. Complete the form, file it at the registry, and then give a copy of the filed form to each other party. You will then work to complete the other early resolution requirements in an effort to resolve your issues without going to court. If you complete the early resolution requirements and still have unresolved issues, you can then file an Application about a family law matter claim (Form 3) to get your case in court. 

Needs assessment: For Early Resolution and Family Justice Registries parties must take part in a needs assessment with a Family Justice Counsellor unless an exemption applies. The Family Justice Counsellor will help the parties identify their legal and non-legal needs, provide information on how to resolve issues out of court, provide referrals, assess whether consensual dispute resolution is appropriate, and assess the risks of family violence. 

Parenting education program: Parties in Early Resolution, Family Justice, and Parenting Education Program Registries must complete an approved parenting education program unless exempted. Previously, only the Parenting After Separation course was approved but other programs may be approved in the future. The Parenting After Separation program is very useful to take, and you should seriously consider taking the course even if it isn't required in your court registry. The program is available online

Consensual Dispute Resolution: Depending on the registry, parties must participate in at least one consensual dispute resolution (CDR) which could include mediation, a collaborative family law process, or a facilitated negotiation with a child support officer. Parties can be exempted if a needs assessor determines CDR is not accessible or not appropriate. Participation may include preparatory meetings.