Transition to a Unified Family Court

The Family Division of the Supreme Court was first established in Nova Scotia in 1999 to be one court dealing with all family law matters arising within the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) and on Cape Breton Island. At that time, family law matters were held in two courts with divorce and division of property being heard in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia and most other family matters being dealt with in the Family Court of Nova Scotia.

 

The existence of two ‘family’ courts outside the HRM and Cape Breton Island continued until 2020. Since March of that year the Supreme Court (Family Division) has gradually expanded its jurisdiction to other areas of the province. Seven new positions were created on the Family Division Bench for judges to cover these additional locations.

 

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, all family law matters in Nova Scotia trial courts will be dealt with as per RULE 59 >> of the Civil Procedure Rules of Nova Scotia, regardless of the trial court where the matter is being processed.

 

READ THE FULL COURT NOTICE >>

 

Often referred to as the Unified Family Court, this new model improves access to family law services, reduces delays and makes the process clearer and less stressful for everyone involved.

 

Family Law Information Program
(in-person help)

If you would rather discuss your situation with someone in-person, the courthouse in Sydney and the Family Division courthouse in Halifax have in-person Family Law Information Program Centres (FLIP).
CLICK HERE >>

 

Family Law Logo

Here is a website that offers more information relating to the law, the processes, and the services that make up family law in Nova Scotia. It will help you understand your family law issue and will provide tools to help solve your problem.

Click on the column graphic above.
 

Services of the Court

The Supreme Court (Family Division) provides a wide range of services for individuals and families. Some are intended to give parties an opportunity to resolve family disputes outside of the court process, where appropriate. Others can help reduce the stress and tension that families often experience when going through separation or divorce or dealing with family conflicts. Information relating to crisis and post-separation counselling and health care professionals is also available.

 

Learn more about the SERVICES OF THE COURT >>

 

E-Court Service

The E-Court service in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia (Family Division) is an online platform for judicial adjudication, decision making, case management and settlement conferencing. Developed in part with the assistance of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the National Family Law Program, this service:

 
~ is now available province-wide;
~ is used to solve simple, discrete issues and case management; and
~ provides legal counsel the opportunity to engage in real time, online exchanges with a judge for dispute resolution.
 
Please note that the E-Court service is available for family matters where both parties are represented by counsel. The goal is to eventually include access for self-represented litigants.
 

Counsel interested in receiving E-Court training should email Natasha Matthews, Coordinator of Policy & Compliance for the Department of Justice - Court Services Division at Natasha.Matthews@novascotia.ca.

 
E-Court Training Materials

~ Overview of E-Court and Consent Form (English)

~ Overview of E-Court and Consent Form (French)
~ Draft Order Instructions
~ Types of E-Court Cases
~ Civil Procedure Rule 59A
~ E-Court Frequently Asked Questions
 
E-Court Notices
~ Jurisdiction Notice
~ What You Need to Refer a Case to E-Court
 
 

Child Protection, The Court, and Your Family

The Court offers a video which is intended to help you understand what happens when the Child Protection Agency becomes involved in your family life. The video and the booklet that comes with it will answer some of your questions.What has happened? Where are your children? When can you see them? What can you do to make sure your family stays together? If your children have been taken into care, what do you need to do to have them returned to you?
 


To view the video in English
CLICK HERE >>

To view the video in the Mi'kmaq language
CLICK HERE >>

 

Representing Yourself in the Supreme Court Family Division

Everybody is entitled to represent themselves in the Courts (except in Bankruptcy Court where you act through a Trustee in Bankruptcy). However, there are often many forms and documents to be filled out, witnesses to subpoena, and so on. If you are not familar with legal and court procedures, and with the law as it applies to your case, then you may want to reconsider self-representation. If you are considering representing yourself in the Supreme Court Family Division, here are some materials that may be of use.

OVERVIEW - THE FAMILY DIVISION >>
  Aperçu de la Division de la famile
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS - THE COURT PROCESS >>
  La procédure juridique : Questions et réponses
TERMS & DEFINITIONS USED IN FAMILY LAW >>   Termes et définitions utilisés en droit de la famille en Nouvelle-Écosse
CONCILIATION - A FIRST STEP >>   La conciliation : Premère étape
PARENT INFORMATION - PARENTS HELPING CHILDREN >>
  Information pour les parents soucieux du bien-être de leurs enfants
PARENT ASSESSMENTS >>
  Évaluations parentales
PREPARE YOURSELF FOR COURT - A CHECKLIST >>
  Se représenter soi-même dans un tribunal - Liste d'information
SUPREME COURT (FAMILY DIVISION) HINTS & TIPS >>    
CORRECTING ERRORS & OMISSIONS IN COURT ORDERS >>    
PERSONAL REPRESENTATION FORM >>    
     

"Going to Court: Self-Represented Parties in Family Law Matters"  - A Workbook

If you are planning to go to court on your own, there are things you can do to help yourself prepare and present your case. A good place to start is by reading this "GOING TO COURT" WORKBOOK >> which includes WORKSHEETS AND CHECKLISTS >> to help you prepare your case.

It contains information about:
~ getting legal advice
~ proving your case
~ what the court hearing process is like
~ what happens at the end of the court hearing
   

The workbook was developed as a collaborative effort between the Nova Scotia Judiciary, the Nova Scotia Department of Justice Court Services Division, and Nova Scotia Legal Aid. It is found on the NOVA SCOTIA FAMILY LAW WEBSITE >>

Self-reprepresented individuals may also want to review the HANDBOOKS >> developed by the Canadian Judicial Council.


Additional useful information, practical materials, and links to other hepful websites
for people who are considering representing themselves in court can be found
HERE >>

Justices of the Court

Judges who sit in the Supreme Court Family Divsion are known as "Justices". The Court has an Associate Chief Justice and 18 other Justices. For more information, including a list of Justices currently sitting in the Court CLICK HERE >>