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What does serving your documents mean in a family law court case?

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What does serving your documents mean in a family law court case?
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CLEO (Community Legal Education Ontario / Éducation juridique communautaire Ontario)
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General

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What does serving your documents mean in a family law court case?
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Reviewed: 
July 31, 2017
Answer

Service or "serving your documents" means giving copies of your documents to your partner and any other people or organizations involved in your court case.

These documents are usually court forms and papers that support the information you give the court to prove your story and convince a judge to give you the orders you're asking for. Examples of documents include copies of bank statements and income tax returns.

The purpose of service is to let your partner know the steps you're taking and the information you're giving to the court.

Why is service important?

For the court to decide a case fairly, everyone involved has a right to:

  • know a case has been started
  • know the steps in the court process that are being taken
  • tell their side of the story

There are Family Law Rules that tell you what is needed at every step in a court case. Rule 6: Service of documents tells you how to serve your documents.

You must follow the rules for service. If you don't and your partner does not respond, the judge may refuse to make the orders you are asking for.

Documents can generally be served in 2 ways – by regular service or by special service.

You can usually serve your partner yourself. You can also get a family member or friend who is at least 18 years old, or a professional process server to do it for you.

A process server is an independent person who can serve your partner for a fee. To find a process server in your area, you can look in the telephone directory or go to www.canada411.ca and search for "process server".

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