1. Understand how to separate a claim

The Refugee Protection Division Rules explain how to request a separation of refugee claims. You must ask in writing at least 20 days before the date of your refugee hearing.

Spouses or partners separate

If you have separated from your spouse or common-law partner, you should include some to show this. For example, a letter or affidavit, or proof of a separate address.

If the separation involved domestic violence, you should include any evidence you have, like a police report, medical report, or support letter from a community organization.

Conflict of interest

If your lawyer decides that you have to separate your claims because there is a conflict of interest, your lawyer will explain this to the Refugee Board without giving too much detail. Your lawyer can't tell the Refugee Board the nature of the conflict.

Once the claims are separated, each claimant can have their own hearing with their own lawyer.


If you separate your claim, and there are children, you will have to decide whether your children's refugee claims are heard with your refugee claim or your spouse's claim.

Children's reasons for claiming refugee protection are usually based on the Principal Claimant's claim. Sometimes children will also have their own reasons to fear going back to their country. For example, young girls might fear forced marriage.

Each family member claiming refugee protection must complete their own Basis of Claim (BOC) form. If you complete the BOC for a child in your care who is less than 18 years old, you must sign the child's BOC.

If your child is 6 years old or younger, you only need to complete the “Who you are” section on page 2 of their BOC. If your child is older than 6 years, you must complete all the sections of their BOC.

If you're the child's parent or guardian, the Refugee Board is likely to appoint you as your child's Designated Representative. This means that you must explain the refugee protection process to your child and make decisions for them about their claim.

If a child is not accompanied by a parent, or if there's a conflict in the family, the Refugee Board will appoint a Designated Representative that is not a family member, such as a lawyer or a social worker.

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