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My partner started a family law court case against me. How do I respond?

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My partner started a family law court case against me. How do I respond?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General

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My partner started a family law court case against me. How do I respond?
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Reviewed: 
April 1, 2019
Answer

If your partner started a family law court case against you and you have to respond to court documents you got from them, you're called the respondent. Your partner started the case and is called the applicant. You're both known as the parties in your family court case.

The family court process follows strict rules. There is a rule about what is needed at every step in a court case. These rules are called the Family Law Rules. Reading them can help you as you fill out court forms and go through the court process.

Rule 10: Answering a case tells you how to answer a family law court case.

This family law court process flowchart explains each step in a family law court case.

You can talk to a lawyer who can help you understand what the law says and what your options are. They can also explain the court process and help you through it.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers provide "unbundled services" or "limited scope retainer" services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

Using your address on court forms

If you fear for your safety and don't want your partner to find out where you live, you don't have to put your home address on your court documents when you fill them out. You can put any address where you can pick up mail from. For example, you can put a friend or a family member’s address.

And, you can also ask court staff to serve your partner with your court documents for you.

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