Skip to main content

I am out of work because of COVID-19. I can’t pay child/spousal support. What can I do?

Updated
06, 07-2020

Agreements and court orders relating to child and spousal support continue to apply. The terms of an agreement or order are not automatically changed or paused because of the current Coronavirus situation. If someone stops or reduces support payments, the amount owing will accrue as arrears until the agreement or the court order is changed. 

Starting on July 2, 2020 and for a limited time as the Provincial Courts deal with the challenges of COVID-19, there is a new process to change a child or spousal support agreement or order of the Provincial Court. This process is only for situations where support needs to change because income has changed since January 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Other issues, such as parenting arrangements or changes to child or spousal support for reasons that are not related to COVID-19 will not use this process. Contact the Family Justice Services Division (FJSD) to schedule your individual needs assessment at 1-844-747-3963 or CSVariation@gov.bc.ca (BC-wide) or 250-356-7012 (Victoria). For more information, see the BC Government COVID-19 Legal Questions or notice FAM 08 released by the Provincial Court.

If you would like to come to an agreement on your own, you can enlist the help of mediators or other professionals to help you come to a temporary agreement. Mediate BC has a new program for people dealing with conflict resulting from quarantine or isolation. Family Justice Services will continue to provide a full range of services to citizens through telephone and other virtual service options until further notice. Services include dispute resolution. See the BC Family Law Q & A -Support for more information and for more resources.

If you are registered with FMEP you are still responsible for making payments. If you can no longer make full payments it is important that you contact your case manager as soon as possible. You can do so by signing into your web account and sending a web message. See FMEP’s March 19, 2020 notice for more information.

My family is involved with MCFD in BC court. What is happening during COVID-19?

Date:
July 6, 2020

When you work with the ministry on your child’s plan of care, there are different stages in the process. Whether you’re participating in mediation, scheduling a family case conference, or waiting for a court hearing, the COVID-19 Coronavirus crisis could affect your next steps. Most operations of the Provincial Court of British Columbia are suspended at all locations until at least May 16, 2020. You should have received a notification about your new court date.

If you’re scheduled for a child protection case conference, your child has been removed and you have a date for a court hearing, you aren’t sure whether you’re at a hearing or conference stage, or if you need help with your case, the Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC legal questions has information that can help. If you think your matter is urgent, you can fill out an application for an urgent hearing and then email or mail it to your local registry, or fax to fax filing registries.

If you still have questions, contact aboriginal@lss.bc.ca

Source:

I am a youth living on reserve in BC, and I will age out of care during COVID-19 Coronavirus. What will happen to me?

Date:
July 6, 2020

First Nation youth won't age out of care during the COVID-19 crisis. The federal government announced it will cover the costs for First Nations child and family services agencies to continue to support youth who are in the on-reserve system. To inquire further, visit the Aborigial Legal Aid in BC questions page

Source:

Can I still visit my child in foster care during COVID-19?

Date:
July 6, 2020

At this stage of the pandemic, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) has said in-person visits are permitted in these situations:

  • If in-person visits happened before March 26, 2020, you can continue them as long as you follow public health principles to reduce the spread of COVID-19.  
  • If in-person visits happened after March 26, 2020, you can continue them through regular case planning instead of by exception. These visits may increase depending on circumstances.

Social workers and the ministry have to review whether in-person visits are possible in some situations. See the MCFD bulletin for more details. To inquire further, visit the Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC questions page or LSS Q&A - Parenting

Source:

Law offices and in-person registry services in BC are closed. How am I supposed to have my affidavit sworn for my urgent family law application?

Date:
July 6, 2020

The Provincial Court will now accept unsworn or unconfirmed affidavits as part of your request to have an urgent family application. Be very careful that your affidavit is true and accurate as you would with a sworn affidavit, as the judge will likely ask you to swear the contents of the affidavit are true if you get a hearing. See the Provincial Court’s Announcement for more details.

Source:

How can I get a protection order in BC during the COVID-19 Coronavirus?

Date:
July 13, 2020

You can still apply for a protection order.The procedure is a little different because of COVID-19. Learn more about Peace Bonds and Family Law Protection Orders.

Both the BC Supreme Court and BC Provincial Court are only hearing matters they determine are “urgent”. If you or your child needs protection from a family member, you can apply to have your matter heard on an urgent basis. If a judge determines your matter is urgent, you will have a hearing by telephone. If you or your children are in immediate danger, call 911.

How to apply

Provincial Court: Starting July 8 Provincial Court family court filings, including protection orders,can be made by email, mail or fax. The Provincial Court is slowly returning to the pre-COVID process for bringing matters before the court.

Family Law BC also provides a wonderful step-by-step guide for applying for a protection order.

Supreme Court: Effective July 13, 2020, in-person registry services will resume at all Supreme Court registries in British Columbia. While in-person filing is available, parties are strongly encouraged to use e-filing, or one of the other methods. See Notice No. 34 (Civil and Family) for more details. See Notice No. 24 for how to e-file through Court Services Online. 

Both the Provincial and Supreme Court returned to their pre-COVID process for hearing urgent matters. The COVID-19 Urgent Application forms have been discontinued. All new applications can be submitted to the courts.

See the BC Family Justice’s COVID -19 Legal Questions and the Legal Services Society’s Q & A - Family Violence for more information and direction.

BC family duty counsel is providing service over the phone. To find contact information in your area see HERE.

For more information, see: 

Source:

I’m worried about COVID-19 and don’t want to send my child to their other parent. What can I do?

Date:
July 6, 2020

If you, your child, or the other parent must be in self-isolation, a court is likely to agree that a child should stay where they are until the need for self-isolation has passed. Otherwise, in general, you must follow court orders for parenting time unless it would increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 for the child, their parents, other members of their household, or the community. BC Family Law has provided updated guidance for when children should not go to their other parent as of June 5, 2020. See the BC Family Law COVID-19 Q & A for Parenting.

It is best that you and the other parent work out a solution together. Consider these guidelines for separated parents sharing custody during COVID-19 and see if you can come up with an arrangement that works. If you need help coming up with an arrangement, you can work with Family Justice Counsellors over the phone or online platforms. 

For more resources, Hannah DeJong, a family lawyer with Boughton Law, created COVID-19 Family Law Resources (BC), which includes general information and resources.

Source:

I am considered an essential worker in BC. The daycare is closed during COVID-19 Coronavirus. Who can take care of my kids while I am at work?

Date:
July 6, 2020

Essential workers can request childcare for children under 12 years old. Go HERE for more information and to apply.

COVID-19 essential workers who live or work in Vancouver can request a referral through the Westcoast Child Care Resource Centre. Go to their website for more details on how to qualify.

Source:

Is there any financial support available for families with children in BC?

Date:
July 6, 2020

Families who receive the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) will receive an extra $300 per child. There is no need to reapply if you are already receiving the benefit. This will be delivered at the same time you would normally receive the CCB. For a full list of Federal benefits go to the Federal Economic Response Plan.

BC Families eligible to receive MCFD Children and Youth with Special Needs (CYSN) Family Support Services prior to March 30, 2020 are eligible to request emergency relief funding. Families eligible to receive CYSN Family Support Services can call their CYSN Worker. A final round of the short-term Emergency Relief Support fund for CYSN is available from July 1 - September 30, 2020. 

 

Source:

What am I supposed to do about my parenting schedule during COVID-19? Should my kids be going back and forth between parents right now?

Date:
July 6, 2020

This is a challenging issue. BC Family Law states that if you and your child are required to self-isolate, the courts are likely to agree that the child should stay with you until your period of self-isolation is over. Otherwise, you must follow the court order. 

It is best if you and your co-parent work out an agreement during this time. There are free mediation and coaching services through Legal Aid BC. Legal aid and duty counsel are currently available by phone only. The courts are currently only taking urgent application by phone, including urgent matters regarding parenting time. 

For more information, and for help with your family law matter, go to the Parenting Q & A on the BC Family Law website or see Family Justice Services COVID-19 Legal Questions. Hannah DeJong, a family lawyer with Boughton Law, created COVID-19 Family Law Resources (BC), which includes general information and resources.The federal government has also provided Parenting during COVID-19 resources. 

This video discusses parenting time issues during COVID-19: COVID-19 and Family.

Source:

I am out of work because of COVID-19. I can’t pay child/spousal support. What can I do?

Date:
July 6, 2020

Agreements and court orders relating to child and spousal support continue to apply. The terms of an agreement or order are not automatically changed or paused because of the current Coronavirus situation. If someone stops or reduces support payments, the amount owing will accrue as arrears until the agreement or the court order is changed. 

Starting on July 2, 2020 and for a limited time as the Provincial Courts deal with the challenges of COVID-19, there is a new process to change a child or spousal support agreement or order of the Provincial Court. This process is only for situations where support needs to change because income has changed since January 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Other issues, such as parenting arrangements or changes to child or spousal support for reasons that are not related to COVID-19 will not use this process. Contact the Family Justice Services Division (FJSD) to schedule your individual needs assessment at 1-844-747-3963 or CSVariation@gov.bc.ca (BC-wide) or 250-356-7012 (Victoria). For more information, see the BC Government COVID-19 Legal Questions or notice FAM 08 released by the Provincial Court.

If you would like to come to an agreement on your own, you can enlist the help of mediators or other professionals to help you come to a temporary agreement. Mediate BC has a new program for people dealing with conflict resulting from quarantine or isolation. Family Justice Services will continue to provide a full range of services to citizens through telephone and other virtual service options until further notice. Services include dispute resolution. See the BC Family Law Q & A -Support for more information and for more resources.

If you are registered with FMEP you are still responsible for making payments. If you can no longer make full payments it is important that you contact your case manager as soon as possible. You can do so by signing into your web account and sending a web message. See FMEP’s March 19, 2020 notice for more information.

Source: