Blog & Resources

May 2, 2017

BC Family Law Series Part 2 | Notice of Family Claim to Judicial Case Conference

May 2, 2017

BC Family Law Series Part 2 | Notice of Family Claim to Judicial Case Conference

So you just got served with a Notice of Family Claim and your ex is claiming everything under the sun? Join the club, you are not alone. If the Notice of Family Claim was prepared by a lawyer you will see some very scary words and things sought against you that blow you mind; or you have no idea what they mean.

The first thing you need to do is relax. These court papers can seem intimidating and scary but they don’t mean much. Trust me, I am a family lawyer and I have seen 100s of these. These papers just mean your ex wants the disagreements to end or resolve. He or she may be angry or trying to stress you out. Sometimes he or she just wants to get on with it and have an end point. Notices of Family Claim generally ask for everything under the sun.. and then some. That doesn’t mean the judge is going to order everything they are seeking. 

Let’s look at what Notices of Family Claim are or seek:

Step 1: BC Notices of Family Claim – What They Are

BC Notice of Family Claim is a document filed in BC family law cases. It starts the family law process in the courts. A Notice of Family Claim generally asks for 1 to 5 things:

  1. Divorce
  2. Child Custody
  3. Child Support
  4. Spousal Support
  5. Division of family property or debt

There are many other orders that can be asked in a notice of family claim but they generally relate to one of the 5 issues above.

A Notice of Family Claim is your ex’s way of telling you what he or she wants out of your breakdown of marriage. But that doesn’t mean they will get everything they ask for. You just have to follow the process to see whether you and them can resolve your issues or have a judge make a decision.

Once You Receive the Notice of Family Claim, follow the below steps: 

Step 2: What To Do After Getting the Notice of Family Claim – File a Response

Once you receive a Notice of Family Claim, you need to respond to it. To do a response to a Notice of Family Claim, you need to fill out a response to family claim form. You generally have 30 days from the day you were served with a Notice of Family Claim to respond to it. 

So take your time. Understand what the Notice of Family Claim is asking of you, and say whether you agree or disagree with what your ex is seeking in the form.

You also need to fill out other forms depending on your situation: 

Step 3: File a Counter Claim or Response to Counter Claim

  1. If you also want to claim some things against your spouse such as support, property or divorce, you can file a counter claim which is almost exactly like a Notice of Family Claim except it is getting served on your spouse and lets them know what you want from them.
  2. They then have 14 day to respond to your counter claim by filing a response to counter claim form.

What happens after the Notice of Family Claim, Response to Family Claim or Counter Claims are filed and served? 

Step 4: File a Financial Statement – What is it?

A financial statement is a form that both you and your spouse will need to file at the BC Supreme Court and serve each if either one of you is asking for something financial from the other. These issues include:

  1. Child Support
  2. Spousal Support
  3. Property Division or
  4. Debt Division

Then both of you need to file a Financial Statement with the court and serve a copy on each other. Please note you need to attach your taxes for the past 3 years and perhaps your latest pay stubs. If you have a company, you need to attach the corporate T2 statements of the company as well.

Financial Statements are difficult to fill out. They ask many questions and can be confusing. Because they are sworn statements you must take great care in filling them out. If you exaggerate your expenses or report a lower income from all sources of income, you could be in deep trouble.

It is best to consult with a BC family lawyer before you finalize and file your financial statement to make sure the judge does not think you are lying about your finances. To read more on financial statements, click here and here.  If you feel lost or need to speak with a lawyer, contact us here.

Both you and your spouse need to file your financial statements before your Judicial Case Conferee. What is that?

Step 5: BC Judicial Case Conference – What it is and How to Book it

Almost everyone going through the BC family law process needs to go through a judicial case conference. This is a confidential meeting between you, your spouse, the judge and your lawyers. A judicial case conference is an informal process where all of you sit together and see whether you can resolve some or all of your issues. The judge is only there to assist you reaching a resolution. It is almost like mediation. The judge can’t make any orders unless you and your spouse agree on them (or they are purely procedural).

Either you or your spouse needs to contact the court registry to set up the judicial case conference. You can go here to see the next availabilities for the judicial case conference in your area. Make suer you choose the right area in BC which is where the Notice of Family was filed.

Then contact the court house at the numbers posted here and book the conference. It costs $80 to book the judicial case conference and you will need to file a requisition to confirm the booking. You then need to let your spouse know of the date the conference is booked. It is best to get your spouse and his/her lawyer’s availability before booking the judicial case conference.

At the BC judicial case conference, you can expect one or all of the following to occur:

  1. A set date to exchange financial information;
  2. A set date for your trial so that everyone can have an end point in mind. This doesn’t mean you HAVE to go to trial. If you settle your issues, you don’t need to attend trial and can cancel it at a later time;
  3. A set date for Examinations for Discovery;
  4. A temporary agreement on who will reside at the family home;
  5. A temporary agreement on child or spousal support; or if you are lucky:
  6. A final agreements on:
    1. child support
    2. spousal support
    3. property division
    4. debt division
    5. custody or
    6. divorce.

I will explain the process of a judicial case conference more in the next blog.

If you are at the beginning stages of separation and nothing has yet to happen, click here to know your right and the right steps to follow to avoid court litigation.

The BC family law process through the courts is a very complex and confusing process. If you feel lost or need help, call our award winning lawyers at 604-974-9529 or get in touch