There is a new way for separated couples to resolve parenting disputes.
Described as "online, confidential and free," it's available through the MyLawBC web platform and is aimed at low-income parents who are not able to hire a lawyer or have one paid by legal aid.
To use the service, go to MyLawBC (mylawbc.com) and click on "Mediation Tool."
Called the "MyLawBC Family Resolution Centre" it's offered by Legal Services Society. Through it, parents can work out their issues and create a written parenting plan.
If parents find they can't agree on some topics, they can request the help of a professional family law mediator. The Family Resolution Centre will provide up to five hours free help from a mediator qualified under the BC Family Law Act.
Once both agree, they can download their parenting plan, have it reviewed by lawyers, and sign it or return to discuss any changes suggested by the lawyers.
If they wish, they can turn their plan into a written agreement or present it to a court as a consent order.
There are other options for free family mediation in B.C., including the Family Justice Centre at 471-1011 Fourth Ave. (Plaza 400) in Prince George.
Like other mediation services, MyLawBC encourages people to get legal advice before signing a binding agreement, and connects them to free advice services.