Many times family lawyers are asked by clients when they can expect to get into court. Once you start your court action by filing your Notice of Family Claim, the trial can be months or sometimes years away, as the parties and the lawyers work on disclosure, negotiations, investigations, and finally trial preparation. Most cases in my experience take just over a year to get to a trial. Trial dates are typically set well in advance with both parties’ agreement and by consulting the court’s availability through the courthouse website or by contacting the courthouse registry.
In contrast, interim applications can require your appearance at court within weeks or even days of starting your court action. Just a few examples of court orders that you might apply for in an interim application include: orders restraining the sale of family property, orders requiring disclosure of documents, orders restraining contact between the parties, orders for a parenting schedule for the time leading up to trial, and orders for the immediate payment of support. The Provincial Court of British Columbia, the Supreme Court of British Columbia, and even the British Columbia Court of Appeal all have their own rules for how much notice you must give the opposing party. For example, in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, the time period is least at eight business days (not including the day you serve your notice and the day you attend the hearing), unless you get permission from the court to give shorter notice.
Most family law lawyers will make an effort to set down a court date that is convenient for both parties. Whether you will get to court on an interim application early in your file will depend on the particular facts of your case.
*Nothing in this post constitutes legal advice and is for general informational purposes only. To establish a solicitor-client relationship with Virginia K. Richards please contact her at Henderson Heinrichs LLP using the information on the Contact Page.