Separation or divorce is a major life change that can be difficult for parents, children, and other family members.
Parenting After Separation is free. The purpose of this course is to provide information to parents and guardians to help them make positive choices in caring for their children following separation or divorce. It also provides information about the separation process and how to access help, including mediation from a family justice counsellor.
In some communities you must complete Parenting After Separation before you can go to the Provincial Court to obtain or change a child support order or an order about parenting arrangements, contact or support. Parenting After Separation is required in the following communities: Abbotsford, Campbell River, Chilliwack, Courtenay, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, New Westminster, North Vancouver, Penticton, Port Coquitlam, Prince George, Richmond, Surrey, Vancouver, Vernon and Victoria.
If you and your spouse have come to an agreement without going to court, you are not required to complete Parenting After Separation but you are welcome to do so.
Once you have completed the course, you will receive a certificate. If you are required to take this course, you have to file this certificate with the provincial court registry before they will set a court date. Both you and your spouse must attend the course on or before the first court date, unless you have an official exemption. (Please see Do I have to take Parenting After Separation? for more information about exemptions.)
Parents may go to either the Provincial Court or the Supreme Court for an order. A family justice counsellor can provide you with information on these two court options, or you can talk to a lawyer.
If you are going to Supreme Court, the judge may recommend that you complete Parenting After Separation on a voluntary basis, or you may choose to attend.