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Which court do I start my family law case at?

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Which court do I start my family law case at?
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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

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Which court do I start my family law case at?
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Reviewed: 
July 31, 2017
Answer

Ontario has 3 different courts that deal with family law issues. They are the:

  • Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice
  • Superior Court of Justice
  • Ontario Court of Justice

It is important that you go to the right court.

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 5: Where a case starts and is to be heard tells you where to start a family law court case. It says you have to start your case in a court that:

  1. deals with the family law issues you need to resolve, and
  2. is in the municipality where you or your partner live.

But, if your issues are about custody or access, you usually go to the court in the municipality where your child lives.

To know which court to start your family law case at you need to know:

  • what issues you want the court to decide
  • which courts deal with those issues

If you're not sure which court to go to, you can also call the family courthouse in your municipality to ask.

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