Ontario's Family Courts Structure
In Ontario, family law matters are heard in the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, or the Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice, depending on the issue in dispute and where you are located in the province.
- Family Court (sometimes referred to as the unified Family Court)
There are 25 Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice locations in Ontario: Barrie, Belleville, Bracebridge, Brockville, Cayuga, Cobourg, Cornwall, Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener, Lindsay, London, L’Orignal, Napanee, Newmarket, Oshawa/Whitby, Ottawa, Pembroke, Perth, Peterborough, Picton, Simcoe, St. Catharines, St. Thomas and Welland.
Where the Family Court branch exists, the court hears all family law matters, including divorce, division of property, child and spousal support, custody and access, adoption, and child protection applications. In all other sites across the province, family law matters are divided between the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice.
- Ontario Court of Justice
The Ontario Court of Justice hears family law disputes that
fall under most Ontario legislation. Issues include: custody,
access, child and spousal support, adoption and child
The Ontario Court of Justice does not decide divorce or division of property matters.
- Superior Court of Justice
The Superior Court of Justice can decide family law disputes
involving divorce, division of property, child and spousal
support, and custody and access.
The court does not hear adoption and child protection matters, except on appeal.
Links to Related Sites
The Guide to Ontario Courts provides general information about courts in Ontario.
Community Legal Education Ontario’s Steps in a Family Law Case is a series of interactive flowcharts that help people understand and work through the family law process.
The Court Process
Information on the court process in each family court can be found in the guides to procedure:
- Guide to Procedures in Family Court NEW!
- Note: The New "A Guide to Procedures in Family Court" consolidates and replaces the following three Guides:
Guide to Procedures in Family Court
Guide to Procedures in the Ontario Court of Justice
Guide to Procedures in the Superior Court of Justice
For a description of family mediation and information services that are available in Ontario's courts, please refer to: