Differences Between Family Court, Supreme Court, & the Supreme Court (Family Division)
The Supreme Court (Family Divisions) operate in Halifax, Sydney, and Port Hawkesbury, and cover the areas of the Halifax Regional Municipality and all of Cape Breton. They are sometimes called ‘unified family courts’ or the ‘Family Divisions.’ The Family Divisions deal with all family law issues, including divorce, adoptions, child protection, adult protection, property and pension issues, child custody and access, and child and spousal support/maintenance. The Family Divisions operate using the Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules.
In areas outside of the Halifax Regional Municipality and Cape Breton, there are two levels of court that deal with family law issues – the Supreme Courts and the Family Courts. The Supreme Courts deal with issues like divorce and divorce variations, and property and pensions, and operate using the Nova Scotia Civil Procedure Rules. The Family Courts deal with issues such as child protection, adult protection, child custody and access, and child and spousal maintenance on ‘non-divorce’ files, and operate using the Family Court Rules.
The judges of the Family Court are appointed by the Provincial Government, and are addressed as ‘Your Honour.’ The judges of the Supreme Court or Supreme Court (Family Divisions) are called ‘justices,’ and are appointed by the Federal Government. In court, they are addressed as ‘My Lord’ or ‘My Lady.’