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Brianne Breckie, MacLean Family Lawyer

5 Best Provincial Family Court Tips can help you and your children move forward successfully after separation. Provincial Family Court is the People’s Court. It handles the largest number of family law cases in Alberta and BC and makes key decisions affecting spouses, children and other family members. Family law impacts more Canadians than any other area of the law. Therefore, it is important that proper decisions are made in the Provincial family Courts.

In family law and other areas of the law, there is no such thing as a “slam dunk” case. However, the following tips may be helpful in achieving a successful outcome for you and any children involved. Brianne Beckie, our Calgary articled student, distills the 5 Best Provincial Family Court Tips to help you be successful in moving your family life forward after separation.

5 Best Provincial Family Court Tips 1 877 602 9900

Tip # 1 BE ORGANIZED. It is important to keep an organized file of the family matter. Typically, a file is organized with the most recent document on top. Keeping an up-to-date, organized file will help you find what you need quickly when appearing in front of a Judge. 5 Best Provincial Family Court Tips such as this one help you be confident in front of the court and to build credibility with the judge.

Bring hard copies of documents which might be relevant to the particular proceeding to Court. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the matter, you may need 2 or 3 copies for yourself, the Clerk, and the opposing party/counsel. Also, come to the Court prepared to take notes. Be sure to bring a pen and paper and make short-hand notes of the Judge’s decision(s). The BC Family Court guide also can be a big help to you.

Tip # 2 BE BRIEF. The phrase, “brevity is a virtue” is particularly relevant in Provincial Family Court. When appearing in front of a Judge, summarize only the relevant facts in relation to the issue(s) on which you want the Judge to decide. In stating your position, whether in written or oral form, do not ramble – the goal is to get straight to the point. Before appearing in Provincial Court, create a summary sheet of the points or arguments that you wish to make. Stick to your summary sheet in order to avoid getting off track. Judges are very busy, so it is important to use their – and your – time effectively. We recommend preparing a top 5-10 reasons why your proposal for resolving family should be accepted over the other parties proposal. Make a single page executive summary that is about 2-3 minutes long when you read it to the court. You can also go through your longer version AFTER. This is your executive summary. A compelling executive summary will almost always win over a long rambling story! Remembering #2 of our 5 Best Provincial Family Court Tips will pay off.

Tip # 3 BE TRANSPARENT. Full disclosure of financial information is mandatory, particularly if your family law case involves the division of matrimonial property, child support or spousal support. In Alberta, you will need to file a Notice to Disclose Application (Form FL-17) and a Schedule A to Form FL-17 ( This is a Statement of Income, Assets, and Liabilities. Ensure that this form is filled out completely and provide all of the supporting financial documents, including a copy of every personal income tax return you have filed for each of the 3 most recent taxation years, a copy of every notice of assessment and reassessment issued to you for each of the 3 most recent taxation years, and a copy of each of your 3 most recent pay statements (if you are an employee). Providing your financial information to the opposing party in a timely manner will avoid unnecessary delays and needless Court Applications.

Be sure to have your finances in order well prior to your scheduled court date. You may need to hire an accountant, particularly if you are self-employed, to prepare the required financial documents, such as financial statements for the 3 most recent taxation years if you own a business or professional practice. Tip #3 of our 5 Best Provincial Family Court Tips will help the court and yourself get the proper financial result on support decisions.

Tip # 4 BE PERSUASIVE. You must have some form of evidence to back up your claims and support your position. This can include screenshots of text messages, photographs, emails, supporting affidavits and/or oral evidence. Have copies of your evidential documents available for presentation when needed for everyone, the judge, you, any witnesses on the stand and for the opposing party.

You must also have a legal basis for making a claim that is grounded in statute or case law. Prior to attending Court, thoroughly research the applicable area of the law using databases such as Canlii, HeinOnline, Westlaw, etc. which are freely accessible at the Alberta Law Library in the Calgary Courts Centre, for example. When conducting research, ensure that you are citing the most recent cases, as the law is constantly changing and evolving. Tip # 4 of our 5 Best Provincial Family Court Tips can help you win the case when there is a “he said she said” battle.

Calgary Family Lawyers and BC Divorce Lawyers Can Help You But Only If You call Them

Tip # 5 BE PROACTIVE… AND RETAIN A QUALIFIED LEGAL PROFESSIONAL. Preparing for Provincial Court is daunting if you are self-represented. The best way to maximize your chances of “winning” in the Provincial Family Court is to retain an experienced lawyer. Hiring a lawyer in your jurisdiction is invaluable in that lawyers know the ins and outs of Provincial Court and they are familiar with the Judges presiding in Family Court. 

Calgary 5 Best Provincial Family Court Tips 1 877 602 9900

The dedicated and experienced lawyers at MacLean Law have extensive experience in dealing with family law matters in Provincial Court, and all other levels of Court, in Alberta and British Columbia. MacLean Law is an award-winning law firm with offices in Calgary, Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna, Fort St. John, and Richmond. Visit our website at and call MacLean Law today toll free to schedule an initial consultation!