This website is meant to provide an overview of family law and the legal system in Manitoba as of November 2019. It is intended to provide a basic understanding of family law for anyone who wants or needs to know about it.
Each section of this website covers major legal topics in a general way, without focusing on the rights of any particular family member or kind of family.
A searchable database of service providers operating within the Family Law sector can be found in the Resources section of this website.
This website provides general legal information only. Legal information explains the law in general terms and is not specific to any particular case. How the law affects any person will depend on the facts of each case.
Family law changes from time to time, as both federal and provincial governments make new laws (legislation: acts and regulations) and the courts make decisions in cases that affect the law (the common law). Information on this website will be updated to explain upcoming changes and when changes take effect.
Legal advice is tailored to a specific person or situation. It applies the legislation and case law to the circumstances and provides recommendations about what course of action would best suit the facts of the case and what the person wants to achieve.
If you have a legal problem or need specific advice, it is best to obtain legal advice from a lawyer who practises family law. Lawyers are the only people authorized to provide legal advice in Manitoba, with limited exceptions, under The Legal Profession Act.
How to find a Lawyer?
The Law Society of Manitoba’s - Lawyer Lookup directory can help to locate a particular Manitoba lawyer. You can search by first or last name, name of law firm or by municipality in Manitoba.
It may also be helpful to ask family or friends to recommend a lawyer with a family law practice.
How do I find a Lawyer that specializes in Family Law?
The Law Phone-in and Lawyer Referral Program, operated by the Community Legal Education Association (CLEA), will refer you to a lawyer who practises family law and who will give you a free half-hour preliminary consultation.
After the consultation, if you are not comfortable with the lawyer, you do not have to hire them.
To arrange for a free, preliminary consultation, contact:
Community Legal Education Association
Phone (for legal questions): 204-943-2382 or 204-943-2305
Phone (for lawyer referral): 204-943-3602
Toll free: 1-800-262-8800
What if I can’t afford a Lawyer?
Legal Aid Manitoba
If you need a lawyer, but cannot afford to hire one, Legal Aid Manitoba may be able to help. All or part of your legal costs may be paid, depending on your financial position, and the type and merits of the case.
Applications may be made at the Legal Aid Manitoba Winnipeg Application Centre at 100 – 287 Broadway Avenue, or at any of the Community Legal Aid offices located throughout Manitoba, or through a private lawyer participating in the plan.
If you apply for legal aid, there may be an application fee, with some exceptions. You do not have to pay the fee if:
- you are receiving social assistance
- you are a full time student
- you are in a woman‘s shelter or a mental health facility
A person receiving help from Legal Aid Manitoba may choose a legal aid staff lawyer, or any private lawyer who participates in the Legal Aid Manitoba plan, to act on their behalf. If a person needs a lawyer for a case outside Manitoba, it may be possible for Legal Aid Manitoba to help obtain such a lawyer.
Legal Aid Manitoba also gives legal information and referrals to other resources, on a drop-in basis, through staff at the Legal Aid Application Centre in Winnipeg and at Community Legal Aid offices outside Winnipeg. The Winnipeg Application Centre does not provide legal advice for an individual’s particular case. Eligible people needing formal legal representation will be referred to a staff lawyer or a participating private lawyer.
If you have any questions about Legal Aid Manitoba services, including the hours of operations for the drop-in service, call 204-985-8500 in Winnipeg, toll free outside Winnipeg at 1-800-261-2960, or visit the Legal Aid Manitoba website at www.legalaid.mb.ca.
Contact information for all Legal Aid Manitoba offices is listed in the Resources section of this website.
Legal Help Centre
If your household income is less than $50,000 and you do not already have a lawyer helping with your family law issue, Legal Help Centre can help you determine your options and next steps.
You must attend a Drop-In Clinic on Tuesday or Thursday from 1:00pm - 4:30pm to find out if you qualify for services. At the Drop-In, you will meet with a law school student who is supervised by lawyers with experience and knowledge about the family law system. You can obtain legal information, advice, and referrals to helpful community resources. In some circumstances, you may be eligible for a follow-up appointment to get more assistance with your case, including step-by-step guidance, completing forms and drafting court documents. Legal Help Centre also offers educational workshops on the family court process regardless of your income.
If you have questions about Legal Help Centre, including available services, hours of operation or how to register for workshops, contact: