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family law

Living Together or Living Apart now available as an eBook

Living Together or Living  ApartOur popular, award-winning booklet (received the 2013 Apex Grand Award) Living Together or Living Apart is now available as an eBook! You can download it to any eBook reader, including Kindle, Kobo, or your smart phone, iPad, or tablet. This means you don’t need an Internet connection to access this publication, and you don’t need to make printouts to share information. Cross-references are linked and terms in bold link to the Glossary, making it easy to navigate to information your client needs. For more information about eBooks, check out Lifehack’s Ten Advantages of E-book Readers.

Living Together or Living Apart explains the basics of family law in BC. It includes information about:

  • being married or in a marriage-like relationship (also called a common-law relationship),
  • what separation and divorce mean,
  • how to work out parenting arrangements, and
  • how to sort out money matters.

It also explains your legal options and where to get help, and includes a chapter for Aboriginal families.


Separation agreement guide now includes property division and pensions!

Dividing propertyWe’ve now added a section on property division and pensions to our newest self-help guide.

In July, we told you about our new separation agreement guide, which allows users to build their own personalized separation agreements. The guide has proven quite popular, shooting to second place for page visits in the first month after its launch.

We’re now planning to use the same model to develop a guide for drafting affidavits, as part of our new Supreme Court Self-help Resources Project. Stay tuned for new developments.

If you have feedback to offer on the new guide, we’d love to hear from you. Send us an email and let us know what you think!

Hot Off the Press — If Your Child Is Taken: Your Rights as a Parent

If-Your-Child-Is-Taken-28-lssWe’ve reprinted this popular brochure that explains about child protection law and what parents or guardians can do if the Director of Child Protection removes their child or is planning to remove their child from the home. It also includes where to get legal help. We made minor revisions to describe how to work out an agreement and about the court process. The previous version (March 2013) is still legally accurate and is also available in French online.

If Your Child Is Taken in English is available in print and online. Order from Crown Publications.

Need a separation agreement? Help has arrived!

Earlier this month, we launched an entirely new kind of animal: a fill-in-the-blanks/choose your own options 7-part separation agreement guide. The feedback that LSS received through community consultation over the years has revealed a need for material to help people draft their own separation agreements.

How to write your own separation agreement is based on a precedent manual produced by the Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (CLEBC). LSS and CLEBC collaborated on an agreement to allow LSS to rely on CLEBC’s Family Law Agreements: Annotated Precedents as source material.

The new guide is unlike any of our earlier guides, and results in a basic personalized separation agreement, which can be filed at the court registry as a first step toward a divorce.

Separation guide 1Users fill in what looks like an online form (section by section), following instructions that are both technical and provide legal information on what words to include. They choose relevant paragraphs by toggling “include/don’t include” buttons on or off, and fill in the necessary dates and names. Some elements (like names) automatically appear throughout the rest of the section after they’re entered once.

Upon completing each section of the guide, the user clicks an “Open text version” button. This strips out all the instructions and unused paragraphs, collects all the selected/entered content, and moves it to a new window.

From that window, users can copy and paste each section into a Word or other word processing document, and tweak or add further details as/if required (for example, sequential numbers for all paragraphs once the agreement is complete). (Numbered paragraphs are required if the agreement is to be filed at the court registry.)

Separation guide 2In the interests of keeping this simple, the guide doesn’t store the entered information anywhere once the user leaves each Web page. This protects the user’s privacy, but also means they must either complete each section at one sitting or store partially completed sections by clicking the “Open text version” button and saving their work to another file that they can add to later.

Our guide is based on CLE’s Family Law Agreements: Annotated Precedents, which is available by subscription to the general public for $250 for those who need to write a more complex agreement.

Initial test results have been positive. Users found it easy to use and understand.

Currently, the guide contains sections on parenting, child and spousal support, and debts. In late August, we’ll be adding a section on property and pensions.

We welcome your feedback on our latest creation! Send us an email and let us know what you think.

Hot off the Press – Aboriginal Child Protection Wallet Card

Aboriginal Child Protection Wallet CardThe Aboriginal Child Protection Wallet Card has been reprinted and is now available for order. This wallet card lets Aboriginal parents know about their right to get legal advice if they’re being investigated for a child protection matter. It provides the Legal Aid phone number, and encourages parents to call as soon as possible to find out if they qualify for a free lawyer.

Family law Word forms now available

A few years ago, we took down our Word versions of many court forms as they had been replaced by new official PDF court forms from the government. However, we heard that people missed the Word versions and so we decided to bring them back. There are now 23 new and improved Supreme Court family law forms in Word format available on our Family Law in BC website. You can find these forms on our Court Forms page; they are also linked to anytime that those forms are mentioned on the site.

Over the last few months, we’ve created, refined, and tested these forms. They can be used in a range of family law cases, including divorces, changing child support, or changing parenting. These forms all go a step beyond being just forms; included with each of these forms are instructions and tips that help you fill out the form quickly and correctly. Some of the more complicated forms also have additional, more detailed instructions and tips.

These forms were created with funding from The Law Foundation.

Hot off the press – For Your Protection: Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders

forYourProtectionBack in stock: our popular booklet, For Your Protection: Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders, is again available from Crown Publications. We’ve reprinted both the English and the Punjabi versions with minor improvements: we’ve added information about the court forms needed for a protection order and also that Supreme Court fees can sometimes be waived. For Your Protection explains how and when people can apply for peace bonds and family law protection orders, and what the differences are between them. The booklet is also available in Chinese (simplified and traditional) and French (online only).

Parents’ Rights, Kids’ Rights is now online-only

pub_thumbnail_PRKRWe’ve run out of print copies of Parents’ Rights, Kids’ Rights. This booklet was developed for advocates and intermediaries and provides comprehensive information about child protection law in BC. You can still read the online PDF on our website. You can download it to your computer for easy access.

If you want to print out a page for your client to take home and refer to, select that page in your printer settings.


If you need a publication to give out to your clients who are experiencing a child protection legal issue, If Your Child is Taken: Your Rights as a Parent is a smaller, more client-friendly next-step guide. This brochure is available to order in print from Crown Publications.

If you have any questions or feedback, please email us at publications@lss.bc.ca.

Hot Off the Press: Six New French Translations

LSS is committed to providing PLE publications in French for both our francophone community here in BC and, of course, for all French-speaking newcomers to BC.

We have six new French translations available: our new child protection publication, How to Get A Court-Appointed Lawyer for Your Child Protection Case, and five of our criminal law booklets. These include four titles in the new Defending Yourself series, meaning that all six booklets in this series are now available in French. The French version of Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trial was also re-translated to match the recent English revision.

All the new translations are available online (only) on our website.

Thank you to the Francophone Affairs Program in BC for funding these translations, made possible through the Canada–British Columbia Official Languages Agreement on French-Language Services.

See our website for a full list of all our French PLE publications.

Comment obtenir un avocat commis d’office pour votre dossier relatif à la protection de la jeunesse How to Get A Court-Appointed Lawyer for Your Child Protection CaseComment obtenir un avocat commis d’office pour votre dossier relatif à la protection de la jeunesse
How to Get A Court-Appointed Lawyer for Your Child Protection Case

Comment vous défendreComment vous défendre pour possession de biens criminellement obtenus d’une valeur de moins de 5 000 $

Defending Yourself: Possession of Property Under $5,000 Obtained by Crime

Comment vous défendre pour possession d’une drogue illicite
Defending Yourself: Possession of an Illegal Drug

Vous représenter vous-même lors d’un procès criminal

Comment vous défendre pour un méfait
Defending Yourself: Mischief

Comment vous défendre pour violation d’ordonnance du tribunal
Defending Yourself: Breach of a Court Order

Vous représenter vous-même lors d’un procès criminal
Representing Yourself in a Criminal Trial




Hot off the press: Family Law in BC: Quick Reference Tool translations

QRT translationsWe’ve translated this popular set of postcards into Chinese (simplified and traditional), Punjabi, and Spanish and made them available in print.

This set of postcards covers the key concepts of family law, while highlighting the changes due to the March 2013 Family Law Act. The tool is meant to provide a helpful overview before readers move on to more comprehensive resources.