3. Give your forms to your partner

How do I start a family law court case?
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3. Give your forms to your partner

Your case can't move forward until you give your partner copies of the documents you got issued by the court. This is called serving your partner.

You have to serve your partner with a copy of your documents so they know that you've started a case against them. This gives them a chance to respond to what you've written and tell their side of the story.

You also have to give your partner the blank forms that the court clerk gave you to give them, and their Mandatory Information Program (MIP) notice.

Rule 6: Service of documents says that the first time you give your partner your documents, you have to use special service. This means you can't give them your documents directly. You have to get a family member or friend who is at least 18 years old or a professional process server to give your partner your documents. Or, you can leave them with your partner’s lawyer.

There is a guide on how to serve documents.

Whoever serves the documents on your partner must fill out Form 6B: Affidavit of Service. In it, they say when, where, and how they served your partner. The form proves that your partner got a copy of your documents and knows that they have to respond to them.

If your partner is outside Ontario

If you're serving a divorce application and your partner does not live in Ontario, the Hague Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extra judicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters may apply. The Convention is an international agreement that applies to countries that have signed the agreement.

The status table on the Convention’s website lists which countries have signed.

If the country your partner is living in is on the list, you can serve them through the Central Authority in Canada or by using a method of service that is acceptable under both Ontario rules and the rules of the country your partner is living in.

If your partner is living in a country that is not on the list, you can serve them using the Ontario rules.

You must follow the rules for service. If you don't and your partner does not respond, the judge may refuse to make the orders you are asking for.

You May Also Need

Ontario Court Forms
Reviewed: April 1, 2019

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