Legal information found on this website is provided by the Law Society for general information purposes. It should not be considered as legal advice. For proper legal advice and assistance, please consult a lawyer.
Family Law, Divorces & Child Custody
Family Law in the NWT
The NWT Justice Department has published a Family Law Manual that reviews your rights and responsibilities within a family setting. The book provides an overview on Separation and Divorce, Child Custody, Child Abuse and Family Violence, as well as more information on such things as Adoption and the role of Lawyers within family law.
The Department of Justice has published a guide to Family Law in the NWT. Click here to view/download a PDF version.
Family Mediation Program
Mediation is an alternative to court. It offers a cooperative approach to solving legal problems. The Family Mediation program is a free service that can help people who are separating or divorcing to agree about:
- where their children will live
- how they will continue to be good parents
- financial support
- property division
Posters and brochures can be read or printed directly from your computer:
To talk privately about how a mediator can help you, call 1-866-217-8923. Translation is available in your language.
Legal Services Board
The Legal Services Board of the NWT, also known as Legal Aid, provides legal services for those who cannot otherwise afford a lawyer.
Free Legal Advice (by Appointment)
The Legal Services Board now offers up to one hour of free, one-on-one, basic legal advice/information on family and poverty law to people of limited means. This free service is offered throughout the Northwest Territories. To book an appointment or for further information, please call collect (867)920-3365.
Jeannette Savoie, a lawyer with the Legal Services Board, is now available for walk-in appointments every Tuesday from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. Appointments are taken on a first come, first serve basis. The Legal Services Board is located on the 3rd floor of YK Centre East (Suite 305, 4915 48th Street), in Yellowknife. Service disponible en Francais.
What is Poverty Law?
Poverty law deals with issues aimed at promoting access to justice for the poor. The term poverty law describes the broad areas of law and legal needs which arise by virtue of an individual's or a group's poverty. In general, these legal needs have traditionally included the following:
- housing law (landlord/tenant),
- income maintenance law (including employment insurance, Canada Pension Plan, social assistance, family benefits, and workers' compensation),
- work-related issues (including employment standards, and occupational health and safety), and
- and consumer and debt problems.
Poverty Law can also include family law, child welfare and human rights.
Small Claims Court
The Territorial Court of the Northwest Territories has jurisdiction to hear civil cases where the monetary amount in dispute does not exceed $35,000. It provides a convenient and inexpensive forum and procedures are more informal, faster and cheaper than in other Courts. Lawyers may appear, but the parties may and often do represent themselves. Unless exceptional circumstances exist, Judicial Dispute Resolution must be attempted prior to setting a trial date.
Hours and contact information for Small Claims Court can be found here.