How Do I Find My Ex?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

In general, people need to find their ex for two reasons:

  1. because they want to start a court proceeding and need to find their ex to serve them with the papers that begin the proceeding, or
  2. to begin enforcing an order relating to child support or spousal support.

Private services

The fastest but most expensive way to find someone is to hire a skip tracer. Skip tracers are people that are usually hired by creditors to find someone who's left town to avoid a debt, but they'll also take private contracts to find someone. Private investigators can also provide this sort of service, but generally PIs have more practice at finding information rather than people.

Public services

The Ministry of Justice has a search service that can help you to find someone when you need to enforce a court order or a separation agreement that has been filed in court that deals with:

  • child support,
  • spousal support,
  • guardianship of a child,
  • parental responsibilities and parenting time in respect of a child, or
  • contact with a child.

The Ministry of Justice's service may be slow, but it has some fairly long arms. In addition to searching provincial records, they can also search federal data banks. To use their service, contact your local Provincial Court and ask them to submit a search request for you.


The explosive growth of the internet has resulted in a heck of a lot of information being readily available, sometimes in ways people don't think of. If you're looking for someone on the net, try an internet search using the person's first and last names, in quotes, like this:

"John Doe"


"J Doe"

The quote marks force the search engine to look for that exact phrase, which increases the likelihood that you'll find the person you're looking for. If you have an idea of where the person might be, add that to your search phrase, but put it outside the quotes, like this:

"John Doe" Kamloops


"John Doe" "British Columbia"

You could also try one of these services:

  •, one of the best search engines around,
  •, a Canada-wide phone book, or
  •, which allows you to find a person by looking up their phone number or address.

Avoid pay services operated out of the United States, especially those that want you to enter your credit card number on their website. They may not be able to search within Canada.

For more information

You can find more information about starting an action in the chapter Resolving Family Law Problems in Court within the section Starting a Court Proceeding in a Family Matter, and about enforcing orders within the section Enforcing Orders in Family Matters.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Thomas Wallwork, May 9, 2017.

Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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