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What happens at a first court date in my family law court case?

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What happens at a first court date in my 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

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What happens at a first court date in my family law court case?
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Reviewed: 
July 31, 2017
Answer

You have a first court date if your case is at the:

  • Ontario Court of Justice
  • Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice, unless your case also deals with a divorce or dividing property

Cases at the Superior Court of Justice don't have a first court date.

The first court date is called an administrative appearance. Depending on where you live, it may not be in front of a judge or even in a courtroom.

The court clerk or judge meets with you and your partner to check that all of your documents are complete and have been properly served.

Then the court clerk or judge sets a date for your first case conference. A case conference is usually the first time you and your partner meet with a judge to talk about your issues.

No first court date

If your case doesn't have a first court date, you or your partner have to ask the court clerk to schedule a case conference for your case to move forward.

Time limits

Once you start a family law court case, you or your partner must schedule a trial within 365 days. If your case isn't scheduled for trial in that time, the court clerk will send you and your partner a notice giving you 60 days to either:

If either of you don't do anything after getting this notice, your case may be dismissed.

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