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Helping New Brunswickers Know the Law

Law By Topic

Family Law


How can I obtain a “Doing Your Own Divorce” guide?

PLEIS-NB has a guide to help individuals apply for a divorce.   It is intended for use by people who have been separated for at least a year and have come to an agreement on issues such as the division of property and custody of children of the marriage. 

There are several ways to access the Doing Your Own Divorce Guide.

  1. Online – the guide can be viewed or downloaded for free on this website.  Click here to view the publication online.  Please note – you cannot complete or submit your documents online.
  2. Mail – If you would like to have a printed copy of the guide, you can purchase a copy from PLEIS-NB by sending the order form and a $10 cheque or money order. The guide will be mailed directly to your address.
  3. Court – The guide can be purchased from court in Fredericton or Moncton.  The cost will be $12 and includes the required Petition for Divorce form.   
  4. Service New Brunswick - You can request a copy of the guide and pay the $12 cost at your nearest SNB office.  SNB will forward your request to the court and a copy of the guide and forms will be mailed to you.
  5. Library – PLEIS-NB has provided a number of copies to the provincial libraries which will allow individuals to borrow the guide at no cost.  

Please note that although the “Doing Your Own Divorce Guide” will explain how to complete the Petition for Divorce, the form you will need is not included with the guide. The forms are available for purchase from the court.   The current fee for a Petition form is $2.

The YWCA, Support for Single Parents (Moncton), the Legal Advice Clinic (Fredericton), and other community groups have copies of the guide and may be able to offer some additional help explaining the process.

My partner and I have recently separated; how can I find information on how our property will be divided?

The way property is divided when a couple separates largely depends on if you were married.  When you get married the majority of your personal items, and property such as houses, cottages, vehicles and in some cases your business assets become marital property and are generally divided equally between spouses.  In the same way, debts such as mortgages, car loans, and credit card debt are considered marital debt.  You can read more about the division of property in the PLEIS-NB publication “Marital Property in New Brunswick

If you were living in a common-law relationship the law is much different and individuals generally take the assets and debts they brought into the relationship.  Items that were purchased during the time you were living common-law will be divided based on whose name is on the property, the amount of money they contributed and other factors.   The PLEIS-NB publication “Living Common-Law” has more information.

Where can I begin to find information on my rights to custody, access (visitation) and child support?

PLEIS-NB has a number of publications in our Family Law Section which can help explain the basics of custody, access, and support in New Brunswick.   However, whenever children are involved it is wise to have legal advice on your specific situation. 
While parents can make arrangements without going to court, the court reserves the right to overturn any agreements if they feel they are not in the best interest of the child. 

Additional information on the Federal Child Support Guidelines can be found on the Justice Canada website.   The NB Family Support Orders Service can register an agreement or court order and can assist with the enforcement of child support payments.

The New Brunswick Department of Justice offers a free course for parents who are living separately.  For the Sake of the Children, consists of two evening sessions and can give you information on the issues parents face after a separation or divorce.  Former partners are not permitted to take the course together, however, new partners are welcome.  Contact the Family Law Line for more information or to register for the course -1-888-236-2444

My partner has children from a previous relationship which I have raised as my own.   Our marriage / common-law relationship has ended and I want to know what   my rights and obligations are. 

If you have acted in the place of a parent it is possible for you to make an agreement or obtain a court order to grant you access or visitation.   The court will consider what is in the best interest of the children.  

When you take on the role of a parent, you may also be taking on support obligations.   Your ex-partner may request a court order for child support, even if the biological father is already paying child support. 


Disclaimer: Please note that our website contains general information about the law. This is not a complete statement of the law on particular topics. We try to update our publications often, but laws change frequently so it is important for you to check to make sure the information is up to date.  The information in our publications is not a substitute for legal advice. To receive legal advice about your specific situation, you need to speak to a lawyer.