Pro Bono Collaborative Family Law is available to Victoria Families for the first time. The Pro Bono Collaborative Family Law project is led by the Society for Collaborative Family Separation Professionals (CFSP) in partnership with the BC Collaborative Roster Society. Funding from the Law Foundation of BC also supports the Project.
Families in the midst of separation and divorce are dealing with new pressures, such as agreeing on safety measures for children, parenting schedules thrown into chaos during the COVID-19 pandemic, and uncertainty of where to turn for help given the limited resources available. The expansion of the Pro Bono Project to Victoria aims to help alleviate some of these pressures on families.
What is the focus and the cost?
In summary, collaborative family law professionals help families create a unique action plan to resolve family law issues without going to court. The plan focuses on resolving the family’s most pressing family law concerns such as parenting arrangements, division of family property or support responsibilities. Families pay a small administrative fee, and professionals donate their time.
Victoria is uniquely placed for the Project, with the BC Provincial Court’s Early Resolution and Case Management Model identifying collaborative law as one of the family dispute resolution options families can use instead of court. Collaborative professionals in Victoria also have extensive experience in using the full collaborative family law model.
How does pro bono collaborative law work for families?
Families in the Pro Bono Collaborative Family Law Project work with a team of qualified lawyers, mental health (coaches and child specialists), and financial professionals in the collaborative family law model, which builds on a pro bono model first developed by the BC Collaborative Roster Society.
Spouses agree to not use the court to solve their concerns, to share their information, and to problem solve with a multi-disciplinary team. Where children are involved, parents want to put their children’s best interests before their own.
Resolving family law concerns often involves human, legal and financial aspects and having a team of professionals provide this range of expertise to families can make a world of difference, not just when families separate, but long after families are restructured.
Is my family eligible for pro bono collaborative law and how do I apply?
Families who wish to participate in the Pro Bono Collaborative Family Law Project must have a family law concern they need help resolving and:
Live within Greater Victoria;
Consent to participate in settlement meetings online;
Have a combined gross annual family income of less than $75,000; and
Have less than $100,000 in equity in assets, excluding pension plans.
Interested families can apply to the Project at: www.bccollaborativerostersociety.com/practice/probono
About the organizations involved
The Society for Collaborative Family Separation Professionals (CFSP) is a non-profit Society based in Victoria. It has a multi-disciplinary membership of qualified collaborative professionals who meet the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals (IACP) minimum standards of practice. For more information about CFSP visit www.collaborativefamilylawgroup.com
The BC Collaborative Roster Society was launched in 2012 to provide a roster of qualified practitioners in the Collaborative Model in BC, and developed the first pro bono model approximately five years ago. For more information about the Roster Society visit www.bccollaborativerostersociety.com.
Collaborative Brown Henderson Melbye Lawyers
Shauna Tucker and Suzanne Williams are current Executive volunteers and Samantha De Wit is a past Executive volunteer with CFSP, as well as active members and collaborative family law professionals helping families restructure. They also donate time to the Pro Bono Collaborative Law Project. Contact Patricia at 250-595-2220 ext 217 to arrange a meeting with one of them.