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What if I need a court order quickly to deal with an abusive partner?
It can take a long time to resolve your issues. There are many steps in the family court process before a trial. Most family law cases are resolved by reaching an agreement before you would need a trial.
A motion is a court process that asks a judge to make a decision about a specific issue before the full trial takes place, or before you resolve your issues with your partner.
For example, parents who separate may bring a motion to get a temporary order that says where their children will live and which school they will go to.
After hearing your motion, the judge usually makes a temporary order. This means that the order lasts for a certain period of time, or until it is replaced by an agreement or another order.
An abusive relationship can affect your family law issues in several ways. You might need to ask for certain types of orders that take your safety concerns and past abuse into account.
For example, if you've been abused by your partner, you might need a temporary order to protect yourself, your children, or your financial rights. You might need to bring a motion for things like:
- A restraining order to protect yourself or your children. A restraining order is one way to keep your partner away from you after you leave.
- An order that your partner only have supervised parenting time, which used to be called supervised access, to the children. You might ask for this if you are worried about your children's safety when they are with your partner.
- A non-removal order, which is an order that says that your partner cannot take your children out of a certain area, such as Ontario. You might ask for this if you partner threatens to take your child away and not return them.
Different types of motions
There are a few types of motions. The type of motion you bring, and when you bring your motion, depend on:
- how urgent your situation is
- whether you and your partner agree on the issue
If you need a temporary order before your trial but your situation isn't urgent, you bring a regular motion. Step 3 below has more information on regular motions.
If you need a temporary order urgently, you can bring:
- an urgent motion with notice to your partner, or
- an urgent motion without notice to your partner. This is also called an emergency motion or ex parte motion.
Step 2 below has more information on urgent motions. You can only bring urgent motions in certain situations. It is difficult to get an order based on an urgent motion.
The Steps in a Family Law Case flowchart has a section on motions called What if you need a court order quickly?. It lets you know what you need to do to bring a motion and how to respond to one filed against you.
Safety and court process
If your partner doesn't know where you live and you fear for your safety, you don't have to put your home address on your court documents. If you have a lawyer, the lawyer usually puts their office address on the court documents.
If you don't have a lawyer, you can put any address where you can pick up documents from. The address you put down is for your partner to send things to when they need to serve you with their court forms and documents. For example, you can put a friend or a family member's address.
If you fear for your safety or the safety of any friend or family member when serving documents, you can ask the court staff to arrange for your documents to be served.