What happens at a family law trial?
Question & AnswerWhat happens at a family law trial?
1. Get ready for your trial
Prepare your trial record
You can’t use your continuing record for your trial. Instead, Rule 23: Evidence and trial says you must use a trial record.
At least 30 days before your trial date, the has to the with a trial record. It will have:
- a Table of Contents
- Form 8: Application, Form 10: Answer, and Form 10A: Reply
- any Agreed Statement of Facts that lists the facts you and your partner agree on
- Form 13: Financial Statement or Form 13.1: Financial Statement, if there are support or property issues
- Form 13A: Certificate of Financial Disclosure, if there are support or property issues
- Form 13B: Net Family Property Statement, if there are property issues
- any assessment reports that have been prepared by a mental health professional like a social worker or psychologist, or any report by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer
- Trial Scheduling Endorsement Form, if your case is at the Superior Court of Justice
- any temporary orders
- any orders related to the trial
- the parts of any court transcript you want to use at trial
The respondent can add to the trial record by serving and filing documents at least 7 days before the trial starts.
Get your evidence
Your evidence includes documents and witnesses.
The documents that you want to use as evidence at your trial must be originals and relevant to your case. Examples of documents include bank account records, report cards, and real estate documents. These must be given to your partner before your trial starts.
You should only call witnesses at your trial who:
- have important information that will help the judge decide your case
- can give evidence that support the orders you want the judge to make
- have important information that goes against your partner’s case
A can only give evidence about what they know, not what other people have told them. When a witness testifies about what other people have told them, this is called hearsay.
If your witness is an expert in a particular area that is an issue in your case and they have written a report, you need to give that report to your partner at least 90 days before the trial. For example, this could be a financial report about the value of your or a child assessment report.
Confirm your date
You and your partner must tell the court that you will be at your trial date and that you’re ready to go ahead.
You each do this by filling out a Form 14C: Confirmation. Write down the amount of time you think you’ll need, the specific issues that will be discussed, and the documents the judge should read.
You can fax the form or take it to the courthouse in person. Do this no later than 2:00 p.m. at least three days before your hearing date. If you miss this deadline, the hearing may not be held and you will have to get a new date.
You must also give your partner a copy of the form before you give it to the court.