How do I respond to a family law court case?
Question & AnswerHow do I respond to a family law court case?
1. Review your partner’s court forms
Your partner has to you with a copy of their court forms. The purpose of service is to let you know that your partner has started a court case against you and to give you a chance to respond.
Rule 6: Service of documents says that the first time your partner gives you copies of their court documents, they have to serve you by . This means your partner can't give them to you directly. They have to get a family member or friend over 18 years old to serve you, or they can hire a professional .
Once you get your partner's documents, read them carefully. Make sure you understand the orders your partner is asking for.
You will get a:
- Form 8: Application, which tells you the orders your partner is asking for, and their reasons for those orders.
- Form 8.0.1: Automatic Order, which tells you what you must do next. For example, it says that you must:
- Serve your partner with your documents and a copy of the Automatic Order. See What does serving your documents mean in a family court case?
- Attend a (MIP) session within 45 days, if you have not already done so. See What is the Mandatory Information Program in my family court case?
- Serve and a with supporting documents, if there are support issues. See What is a financial statement? What documents do I have to give my partner?
If you don't do these things before your , the judge might say you “have not complied”. This means you did not follow the order. You may have to pay your partner's legal costs.
You may also get:
- Form 35.1: Affidavit (decision-making responsibility, parenting time, contact), if your partner is asking for or . These used to be called and . This form has your partner's story of your family situation before you separated and your partner's suggested for after you separate.
- Form 13: Financial Statement or Form 13.1: Financial Statement, which has information on your partner's finances. You get this form only if your partner is asking for:
- that is more than what they would get under the child support tables,
- , or
- to divide property.
- Form 13A: Certificate of Financial Disclosure, where your partner lists all the documents that prove what they said in their financial statement.