A Guide to Procedures in Family Court
Ministry of the Attorney General
June 2010, Revised July 2015
This guide does not provide legal advice. It is recommended that all parties seek legal advice where possible.
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ISBN 978-1-4435-3510-6 (Print)
ISBN 978-1-4435-3511-3 (PDF)
If you are named as a respondent in a family case and you are served with an application, you will also receive a blank answer that will allow you to respond to the claims that have been made in the application. You may also make claims against the applicant or another person (an added respondent) in your answer.
The information that you write on the answer lets the applicant and the judge know what you and the applicant do and do not agree on in the application. You may also add any other issues, not set out in the application, that you would like the judge to decide.
In addition to an answer, you may also need to complete other forms depending on the claims that have been made, such as a financial statement.
Within 30 days of being served with the application, or by the first court date, whichever is earlier, you must:
If there is a first court date, it will be set out on the first page of the application.
If you do not serve and file an answer within 30 days of being served with the application, or the first court date, the case can go ahead without you. This means that the court could make an order that affects you and your children, if any, without hearing from you. It’s very important for you to file an answer before the deadlines if you disagree with the information or the claims in the application or if you want to make your own claims.
The rules for answering the claims set out in an application are found at Rule 10: Answering a Case of the Family Law Rules. You can find the Family Law Rules on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website at www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca. Click on “Family Justice”, then scroll down and click on “Family Law Rules”.
The forms you will need to answer the application will depend on what it is you are asking the court to do.
In all cases, you will need:
You may also need:
If you are responding to or asking for support for you and/or your children, you will need a Support Deduction Order Information Form, which the court office will provide you. You will also need your notices of assessment for the past three years, which you will attach to your Financial Statement. If you do no have a copy of your notices of assessment, a copy of the Income and Deductions printout may be obtained from the Canada Revenue Agency by calling 1-800-959-8281.
If your case is started at the Superior Court of Justice or at the Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice and you are asking for a divorce, court staff will provide you with a Registration of Divorce Proceeding form.
Most of the court forms you need are available at the family court office or on line at www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca. Read and follow the instructions on the forms carefully.
Please make sure your handwriting is clear when completing the forms. Court staff can’t complete the forms for you.
You will need to:
If you need help filling in the forms and don’t have a lawyer, you can visit a Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) where, at certain times an Advice Lawyer may be available to help you understand the basics of family law. If you meet Legal Aid financial requirements, the Advice Lawyer may also be able to provide you with some specific advice about your case. Before visiting a FLIC, you should contact the court office for information about the availability of an Advice Lawyer. Visit www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca to find the location of a FLIC nearest you.
You will need to serve the applicant and any other party named in your case with a copy of the answer, supporting forms and documents you want the judge to consider before they are filed with the court. The answer and any supporting forms and documents may be served on a party to the case by regular service or by special service.
Check the service rule, Rule 6: Service of Documents of the Family Law Rules to ensure that all your documents are served properly and within the proper timelines. For example, if you mail a document, the rules consider the other party served on the fifth day after a document is mailed. So, if you have 30 days to serve your answer, you must remember that if you mail your answer, the rules provide that the applicant and other person would not receive your answer until five days after you mail it.
See A Guide to Family Procedures, Part 6: Serving Documents for additional information on service.
After the application, supporting forms and documents are served, the person who served the documents will need to complete and file Form 6B: Affidavit of Service with the court for each person they served.
If the application has a first court date, you must file your documents with the court as soon as possible before the first court date.
After serving the answer, supporting forms and documents as described in Step 3, the person who served the documents will need to complete and file Form 6B: Affidavit of Service for each person served.
The affidavit of service tells the court when, where and how your documents were provided to the applicant and any other party.
The affidavit of service requires the person who served the documents to swear or affirm that the information in the affidavit is true. After completing the affidavit of service, the person must sign it in front of a commissioner for taking affidavits. There are commissioners for taking affidavits at the family court office.
Remember, it is a criminal offence for a person to swear or affirm a false or misleading affidavit. It is the responsibility of the person making the affidavit of service to make sure that the information in the affidavit is true.
Refer to A Guide to Family Procedures, Part 6: Serving Documents for more information on service.
You will need to file your completed answer, any other original forms and the affidavit of service at the family court office where your case was started. You will need to file your answer, other documents and the affidavit(s) of service in the continuing record and update the table of contents contained in the endorsements volume.
See A Guide to Family Procedures, Part 5: Filing Documents for more information on the continuing record.
In some cases, such as where you or the other person is asking for a divorce and/or division of property, you will need to pay court fees.