The Superior Court of Justice in Ontario accepts applications to deal with many types of issues such as divorce, custody, access, child or spousal support, property division, sale of a home, possession of a home and adoption of a child.
When you start a family court application, there are many forms to fill out. You can get a lawyer to help sort out the forms, or you can go to the Family Law Information Centre, which is located at the courthouse and ask for help. All of the forms are available online. (need link)
To start your application you will always need:
- General Application
- Conference Notice
Depending on your case, you will usually need:
- Financial Statement
- Affidavit in Support of Custody or Access of a Child
- Affidavit of Service
- Support Deduction Order
- Support Deduction Order Information Sheets
- Restraining Order Form
There are also other forms which will be required as the case progresses through court, including briefs, confirmations, notices of motion, and affidavits.
Serving someone means giving the other side the court papers. Whenever a new case is started, you must make sure the other side receives the papers in person. You are not allowed to give the papers to them, it must be someone over 18, and preferably someone who is not involved in the case, such as a process server. The court will not let you file your papers until you prove that you have served the other side. During the rest of the case, you can mail or fax the papers to the other side.
If You Have Been Served
You will need to serve and file your Answer within 30 days of receiving the court papers. Do not wait, or you can risk losing all of your rights in court. If you have missed the deadline, they will not let you file the papers without a judge’s permission, so make sure you go to the courthouse and find the right courtroom so you can speak to the judge about filing your papers. If you have not filed your papers, you have no right to speak about your case, so don’t waste the court’s time trying. Just apologize for missing the deadline and ask for two weeks to fill out the papers and file them.
If the Respondent does not file an Answer, you can ask the court to “note them in default”, which means that they have no further rights to any notice or participation in the court proceedings. Then you can schedule a motion for uncontested trial at which time you will present your case to a judge and request an order to get what your application was asking for. If the judge thinks your application is reasonable, you will get your court order that day. Be prepared: have a good affidavit prepared, attach your evidence, and be ready to testify if the judge wants more information.
If you would like to discuss your case or anything relating to family law, please contact Lisa.