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Do I qualify financially for legal advice?
Family legal advice services have a financial eligibility test. To be eligible for family advice services, your net monthly household income must be below the amount for your household size in the table below.
|Household size*||Net monthly income**|
|(number of family members)||(income after deductions)|
|1 – 4||$3,300|
|7 or more||$5,110|
*Family members include children and parent(s) or other adult(s) responsible for and living with the children.
**Income is your net income from all sources (excluding a common-law partner of two years or less) and child support payments.
If you have a family law issue and your income is higher than the limits in the table above, you may still receive:
- brief advice or general help from family duty counsel, if they have time that day (duty counsel give priority to financially eligible clients with urgent matters)
- up to one hour of advice from a family advice lawyer if you're in mediation and have received a referral through the family justice counsellors
You can also access information about your legal issue online, including:
- our publications on a variety of legal topics,
- family law information on our Family Law in BC website, and
- information on our Legal Aid BC — Aboriginal website.
What may be included in monthly income?
Your monthly income includes your net income and the net income of members of your household.
Monthly income can include any of the following:
- employment income,
- self-employed business income,
- social assistance benefits,
- Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security benefits,
- disability pensions or benefits,
- child or spousal support,
- student loans,
- money from boarders (including children who pay rent) or rental property,
- income of spouse, and
- income of a common-law partner you have lived with for two years or more, or with whom you have a child.
What isn't included in monthly income?
Your net income includes your income from all relevant sources, less allowable deductions.
Monthly income does not include:
- the Child Tax Benefit,
- the BC Family Bonus,
- GST payments,
- tuition or book fees under federal or provincial student loans, or
- children's income.
What's an allowable deduction?
Your allowable deductions may include:
- mandatory deductions from your pay such as income tax, EI, and CPP;
- daycare expenses;
- Medical Service Plan payments;
- child or spousal maintenance payments that you or your partner are paying;
- court fines that, if not paid, will mean you or your partner will go to jail;
- travel costs for child access visits; and
- medical or dental expenses or medication you must personally pay for that a doctor says is necessary for you or your dependants.