Which court do I start my family law case at?

As of March 1, 2021, the term  has changed to . And in most situations, the term  has changed to . Now, all parents usually have parenting time.

Also, a person who isn't a parent or step-parent may get a to spend time with a child. For example a grandparent can get this order.

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 decision-making responsibility or parenting time, you usually go to the court in the municipality where your child lives. Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called custody and access.

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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