How do I prepare for a family law trial?

2. Get your evidence together

Your evidence can be documents or witnesses that support your case or go against your partner's case.

Documents

The documents that you want to use as evidence at your trial must be originals and necessary and relevant to your case. Documents are called exhibits.

Examples of documents include bank account records, report cards, and real estate documents.

You have to give copies of these documents to your partner before your trial starts.

Witnesses

You need to make sure your witnesses come to court when you need them. If they are family members or friends, you may be able to rely on them to show up.

For other witnesses, you may want to issue a to them to come to court. A summons is a legal document that orders a person to come to court to give evidence, and to bring documents or other things to the hearing if needed.

To issue a summons you fill out Form 23: Summons to Witness and it on your . In it, you tell them the date and time you need them to come to court and the documents you want them to bring.

You must pay the witness $50 for each day they are needed in court and give them travel money. If they don't live in the city where the trial is being held, you also have to give them an allowance for meals and accommodation. These fees and expenses are listed in Rule 23: Evidence and Trial.

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 witness can only give evidence about what they know, not what other people have told them. When as witness testifies about what other people have told them, this is called hearsay.

Expert witnesses

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.

An expert witness is the only witness who is allowed to give evidence based on their opinion.

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