Family Law Court Procedures

Family law Court cases start with an Application which is a form setting out your biographical and family history and a list of the claims you are making against your spouse or which your spouse is making against you. A party has thirty days to file a dispute or Answer to the Application. The responding party may also make a claim against the Applicant. The Applicant may then file an Answer to the claim made against him or her, followed by a Reply if necessary from the responding party. However, if no Answer is filed, the Applicant can ask the Court to make an Order on a default basis.

The Ontario Court of Justice deals with cases involving custody of children, access, child support and spousal support. The Ontario Court of Justice cannot deal with cases involving divorce or property. The Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Superior Court Family Court can deal with cases involving divorce, custody of children, access, child support, spousal support, exclusive possession of the matrimonial home, sale of the matrimonial home, and equalization of property. The government has not organized the Courts so that they are all the same, and even the way the Family Law Rules are used varies from Court house to Court house.

Almost every contested family law case requires the production of a sworn Financial Statement from both sides. The Court has its own form of Financial Statement which must be used. The Financial Statement must be updated as the case goes along. The Financial Statement is very often one of the most important documents in the whole case.

If child support is among the claims or disputed issues in the case, each side must provide the Court and the other party with income tax returns and Notices of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency for the preceding three years. The Court office will not allow us to file the Application or the Answer in a child support case without these Notices of Assessment. If you do not have Notices of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency, you must contact the local Canada Revenue Agency Tax Office at 1-800-959 8281 to obtain copies of your Statement of Income and Deductions.