BC Family Practice Manual

Practice Point

Your A to Z guide family law practice and procedure

This publication is essential for: lawyers who need to understand family law practice and procedure.

There are many decisions to make about how to proceed in a family law file—which Act applies, should you mediate or start an action, and which court should you proceed in practice and procedure along the way. Let the British Columbia Family Practice Manual be your guide to the choices to make, the steps to follow in a process, the time limits that govern, and the forms you need to complete.

With analysis of case law on procedural issues as well as specialized chapters on indigenous family law issues, adoption, and child protection, this manual provides you with the direction you need to confidently advise and manage your family law clients’ issues.

With this resource, you will be able to:

  • smoothly navigate family law processes such as settlement, obtaining interim relief, trial and trial alternatives, obtaining costs, drafting and enforcing orders, and appeals
  • save time drafting court documents by accessing over 200 family law forms and precedents
  • effectively maintain your family law files by using file management checklists

Buy today and have the support you need to run your family law practice!

Highlights of the 2018 update

Discussion of significant BC Court of Appeal and BC Supreme Court decisions over the past year, including decisions regarding:

  • disclosure obligations
  • “excluded property”
  • the end of the presumption of advancement
  • relocation: criteria to consider and appropriate procedures
  • denial of parenting time: what constitutes denial, and remedies
  • BC Supreme Court’s inherent jurisdiction, including its parens patriae jurisdiction to fill legislative gaps
  • conflicts of laws pertaining to jurisdiction over family property claims
  • when occupation rent may be claimed
  • use of s. 211 reports
  • expert evidence: use of different types of experts and requirements of expert evidence
  • use of summary trials in family cases
  • appeals: standard of review and conduct of appeals from BC Provincial Court
  • arbitration: conduct of and appeals from awards
  • considerations in deciding whether BC Supreme Court or Provincial Court is the appropriate forum in light of remedies to be sought
  • updates regarding new processes and statutory provisions
  • updated consideration of alternative dispute resolution processes and “unbundled services”
  • updated forms and references to further resources relevant to family practice

Editorial Board 

The Honourable Mr. Justice G. Bruce Butler — Supreme Court of British Columbia, Vancouver
Todd R. Bell — Schuman Daltrop Basran & Robin, Vancouver
Geeta Gill — Hamilton Fabbro, Vancouver
The Honourable Judge Rose Raven — Provincial Court of British Columbia, Surrey
Jane Reid — Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP, Vancouver
Meghan Selinger  — Hamilton Fabbro, Vancouver


Kelsey Beazer — Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP, Vancouver 
Fiona Beveridge — Watson Goepel LLP, Vancouver
Ingrid Bloomfield — Vital Statistics Agency, BC Ministry of Health, Kelowna
Anne DeMeulemeester — Aaron Gordon Daykin Nordlinger LLP, Vancouver
Monika Follett — Family Duty Counsel Project, Robson Square Provincial Court, Vancouver
Robert S. Gill  — Clay & Company, Victoria 
Geeta Gill — Hamilton Fabbro, Vancouver
Fiona S. Gow — Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Justice, Victoria
David C.  Halkett — McQuarrie Hunter LLP, Surrey
Rain A. Henderson — Henderson Heinrichs, Vancouver
Julia Hibbard — Hayward Sheppard, Vancouver
Phyllis M. Kenney, QC — Barrister & Solicitor, Vancouver
Michelle Kooy — Henderson Heinrichs, Vancouver
Colin A. Millar — Richards Buell Sutton LLP, Vancouver
Crystal Reeves — Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver
Zara Suleman — Suleman Family Law, North Vancouver

Overview—Family Law Act
1. Conducting a Family Law Practice
2. Building Effective Relationships
3. Assessing the Legal Issues in a Family Law File
4. Gathering Information in a Family Law File
5. Working Toward Settlement
6. Recording a Settlement in a Family Law File
7. Commencing Proceedings
8. Using Conferences Effectively in a Family Law Case
9. Obtaining Court-ordered Interim Relief
10. Obtaining Discovery in a Family Law Case
11. Using Alternatives to Trial in a Family Law Case
12. Conducting a Family Law Trial in Supreme Court
13. Obtaining Court-ordered Costs in a Family Law Case
14. Practising in Provincial Court
15. Drafting Supreme Court Orders
16. Varying Orders and Challenging Family Agreements in Supreme Court
17. Enforcing Orders and Agreements
18. Conducting Appeals of Supreme Court Judges and Masters Orders in a Family Law Case
19. Child Protection
20. Adoption
21. Naming
22. Indigenous Family Law Issues


1. Family Practice Interview
2. Family Law Agreement Procedure
3. Separation Agreement Drafting
4. Marriage Agreement Drafting
5. Family Law Proceeding
6. Child, Family and Community Service Act Procedure

Forms and Precedents

I. Building Effective Relationships
II. Assessing the Legal Issues
III. Gathering Information
IV. Working Toward Settlement
V. Recording a Settlement
VI. Commencing Proceedings
VII. Using Conferences Effectively
VIII. Obtaining Court-ordered Interim Relief
IX. Obtaining Discovery
X. Using Alternatives to Trial
XI. Conducting a Trial
XII. Obtaining Court-ordered Costs
XIII. Practising in Provincial Court
XIV. Drafting Orders
XV. Varying Orders and Challenging Agreements
XVI. Enforcing Orders and Agreements
XVII. Conducting Appeals
XVIII. Child Protection
XIX. Adoption

“It happens to all of us. You wake up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night with an issue running through your head. Who you gonna call? Don’t worry. Ease your mind. It will be okay. First thing in the morning, pull out CLEBC’s BC Family Practice Manual. There you will find the answer.

Organized, in a practical format, is the latest information with respect to all of the elements of a family law case. Still feeling a bit uneasy? Look at the list of editorial board members and contributing authors. It is a “who’s who” of dispute resolution professionals in British Columbia. They have taken the time and applied their considerable expertise in ensuring the manual is up to date with references to the most current case authorities. The manual is a must have reference tool. Don’t delay! Get it now!”

Colin A. Millar, Q.Arb,  Partner, Richards Buell Sutton LLP