Parenting After Separation is a free, three-hour information session for BC parents – and other family members, such as grandparents, or guardians – who are dealing with child custody, guardianship, access, and support issues. The course explains the effects of separation on separating parents and their children and demonstrates effective ways to communicate and solve problems in parenting situations. Any separating parents can choose to attend this course. For more information, see the Ministry of Attorney General’s Family Justice website.

Parenting After Separation and Provincial Court

In some communities, where the Provincial Court is “designated” under Provincial Court (Family) Rule 21 to promote settling issues outside the courtroom, separating couples must attend Parenting After Separation sessions before the registry staff will set a first appearance date for their cases.

Important: In urgent situations, you can apply to the court to skip or postpone this step.

If the course is mandatory where you live (see below for a complete list of communities), Provincial Court registry staff will give you a referral. When you’ve completed the course, you will receive a certificate of attendance that you must file with the registry before they will set a first appearance date. Both parties must attend the course on or before the first appearance date. You can choose to attend a Parenting After Separation course if you want to (and one is available in your community), even if it’s not required.

Tip: It’s a good idea to find out as soon as possible if you have to enrol in a Parenting After Separation course – sometimes the waiting list to get into a course can be quite long.

You don’t have to attend this course if you:

  • have attended the course already within the past 24 months;
  • are not fluent in any language in which the course is offered;
  • live in an area where the course isn’t offered; or
  • can’t attend because you have serious health problems.

If one of these situations applies to you, complete and file a Parenting After Separation Exemption Request (Form 31) (Word) at the court registry instead of the certificate of attendance.

Note: On October 1, 2010, the Parenting After Separation program was expanded to Provincial Courts in Campbell River, Courtenay, Penticton, and Vernon. People going to Supreme Court are now also being encouraged to participate in the program.

The Parenting After Separation Program is mandatory in Provincial Courts in:

  • Abbotsford
  • Campbell River
  • Chilliwack
  • Courtenay
  • Kamloops
  • Kelowna
  • Nanaimo
  • New Westminster
  • North Vancouver
  • Penticton
  • Port Coquitlam
  • Prince George
  • Richmond
  • Surrey
  • Vancouver (Robson Square)
  • Vernon
  • Victoria


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