Posts in MyLawBC Development Blog
MyLawBC is open!

Today is the day; MyLawBC is officially launching! Over the last few weeks we’ve been making tweaks and adjustments to the site to make the user experience the best it can be. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to test the site and give us your feedback.

Now our next job is to get the word out and find users for the site. Hopefully, you’ll be hearing people other than us talk about MyLawBC soon. In the meantime, please feel free to share the site with your colleagues, tweet about it, Facebook it, or tell anyone you think might be interested.

MyLawBC moving forward

What happens now that MyLawBC is available to the public? Over the next few weeks, we’ll gather feedback and watch how people use the site. With this information, we can start planning tweaks and adjustments that will improve the site. These changes will roll out over the coming months. While that’s happening, we’ll also ramp up our plan to get the word out about MyLawBC. In April, we plan to make a big splash; that’s when we’ll do our big promotional push for the site. You’ll hear more about that closer to the time.

As for this blog, we’ll still update periodically to let you know how things are going and what changes we’ve made. When we have big announcements about new pathways or other content for MyLawBC, you’ll find that here too.

Planning for your future

Planning for your own death is uncomfortable; no one likes to think about dying. Despite that, having a will and planning for your future is important. MyLawBC has two different pathways to help you with these decisions. The Make a will pathway helps you create a will. It explains the decisions you need to make and what you need to consider for those decisions. Depending on your situation, MyLawBC also provides you with a form you can fill in to create a valid will. Even if MyLawBC can’t provide a will to fit your needs, it gives you information about what to put in your will and how to get help to complete one.

The Plan for the future pathway covers personal planning. This means planning for a future where you might not be able to act independently; for example, if you developed dementia. You’ll learn about all the available documents and find out which ones are best for you. This includes the various kinds of Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements. We worked with Nidus on this pathway to make sure you get the best information.

Getting help with foreclosure

Foreclosure is a scary topic. The thought of losing your house is stressful enough, without even considering the legal process you need to navigate. Learning about foreclosure can also be difficult. There’s some information out there, but it’s a topic that isn’t well covered compared to other common legal problems. MyLawBC has a new pathway that helps people going through foreclosure or who are worried they might have to. As you answer questions about your situation, MyLawBC determines what information you need to help you keep your home. MyLawBC gives you practical information on how to avoid foreclosure and where to find financial and legal help. Your plan also includes other resources like tips, checklists, and sample letters.

If you decide to go to court, MyLawBC gives you an overview of the court process, information on how to prepare for court, and links to sample court documents.

Solving family law problems

On our Family Law in BC website, the topic that gets the most interest is divorce and separation. Separation is a big step in people’s lives. Those who are going through a separation, or have gone through it, have questions about what the law says and how it will impact their family. MyLawBC has three guided pathways that can help people going through a separation: Make a separation plan, Get a family order, and I’ve been served with a court document. Each of these pathways helps you with an aspect of the separation process by analyzing your situation and giving you the information you need to take action.

If you want to create a separation agreement, MyLawBC has the Dialogue Tool. This tool sets you up with the framework of a legal agreement. It gives you and your spouse a platform to work together to fill out that agreement and create a legal document that works for both of you.

Note: If you’d like to try out the Dialogue Tool, please list your last name as Mylawbc so that we can tell your test account apart from other accounts.

Abuse and family violence is an unfortunate reality and one that can rear its head during separation. This abuse doesn’t have to be physical, but no matter what form it takes, it can drastically impact people going through a separation. MyLawBC has a pathway that helps you reflect on your relationship to recognize the signs of abuse and to learn about how it can affect your separation. It helps you make a safety plan and lets you know who can help.

MyLawBC is open for business!

We’ve flipped the switch and MyLawBC is ready. For the next few weeks, MyLawBC will be in what we’re calling a soft launch. This means that while the site is available to the public, we’re only reaching out to a small group of people to take a first look. This is an opportunity for us to see how the site performs with more users, spot any small bugs that may have snuck through, and collect some last-minute feedback before we start circulating the site more widely. During the soft launch, you can do everything on MyLawBC; from using the guided pathways to create an action plan you can use to resolve your legal problem, to working with your spouse on the Dialogue Tool to create a separation agreement.

Over the next few days, we’ll go more in-depth about everything you can do with MyLawBC. In the meantime, have a look and tell us what you think! You can email us your feedback at mylawbc@lss.bc.ca.

Note: If you’d like to try out the Dialogue Tool, please list your last name as Mylawbc so that we can tell your test account apart from other accounts.

January update

The finish line is in sight — but a little further away than we thought . The holidays are over, January is in full swing, and we’re chipping away at the final pieces of MyLawBC. Since December, we’ve been testing a, mostly, working version of the site, making sure everything works the way it’s supposed to. As we’ve gone back and forth testing and tweaking, we’ve decided that we need a little more time to polish the site to make sure our users have the best experience possible when the site’s available.

What this means is that MyLawBC will be a leap year baby. On February 29, we’ll flip the switch and make the site available to you. From there, we hope to get your feedback so that we can continue making improvements to the site.

December update

Well, we’re now into December and our final couple of months of building MyLawBC. While much of the core work is nearing completion, many related pieces are still in progress (supplementary infographics, information booklets, etc.). But the site is nicely taking shape now and we’re all looking forward to the launch, set to happen in January 2016. We’ve created a promotional fact sheet about MyLawBC. Feel free to download and share it with anyone who’s interested.

As one of our legal reviewers once put it, “making legal information seem simple is really, really hard work!” Well, we’ve almost finished that hard work, and we believe that this website will have a significant impact on access to justice for ordinary British Columbians.

MyLawBC can help you with your family law matters

Are you separated, separating, or thinking about separating from your spouse? Wondering what your next steps are? Worried about money? Overwhelmed by the many choices you have? If so, MyLawBC’s three Family pathways can guide you to the best course of action for your situation. They will also tell you about people and services that can help along the way. There are three pathways available: Make a separation plan, Get a family order, and Served with a court document. You choose the pathway that applies to you. For example, if you’re separating from your spouse, start by making a separation plan, so that you can map out what’s best for you and your family. If, after making a separation plan, you need to go to court, the Get court orders pathway will help you choose which court works for you and help you navigate the court process. And, of course, if your spouse has served you with court documents, the Served with court documents pathway will walk you through what to do next.

Each pathway asks you questions about your circumstances (married/common-law, children, property, finances, etc.). Then the pathways lead you to an endpoint that sets out what you need to know, what to do now, and what to do next. You can print the action plan for your situation.

The Make a separation plan and Served with court documents pathways also refer you to the Dialogue Tool. This is an online negotiation platform that allows you to discuss issues with your spouse online and work out the details of a separation agreement. Along the way, MyLawBC provides you with full information about what your legal options are, so you can negotiate effectively. Using the Dialogue Tool can help keep you out of court (and save you the money that would cost!)

You can go through each of these pathways in 20 minutes or less. Your answers are completely confidential and will be deleted when you leave the pathway.

MyLawBC can help you plan for the future

Have you written a will? Have you thought about what would happen if you needed help managing your life? We may not like to think about dying or even about losing our mental (or physical) abilities, but having legal documents in place allows you to plan for the future. MyLawBC can help you with all of this. With a will, you make sure that what you own goes to the people you choose when you die. You can also name a guardian so that someone you trust will look after your children. The Make a Will pathway asks you questions about your situation and then provides an appropriate form for you to fill out and print. Even if MyLawBC can’t provide a will to fit your needs, you’ll get information about what to put in your will and how to get help to complete one.

It’s also useful to have personal planning documents that say what should happen if you can no longer act independently (for example, if you get dementia or have a life-changing car accident). In the Plan for Your Future pathway, you learn about all the available documents and find out which ones are best for you. This includes the various kinds of Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements. By making these documents before you become incapable, you can choose who’ll have the right to help you make decisions or act for you in important matters such as your finances and healthcare.

You can go through each of these pathways in about 20 minutes. Your answers are completely confidential and will be deleted when you leave the website.