Which court do I start my family law case at?

2. Find out which court deals with your issues

You have to also start your family law court case in a family court that deals with the family law issues you need to resolve.

Not all of Ontario's 3 family law courts deal with every family law issue. For example, the Ontario Court of Justice doesn't deal with divorces or . So, if you need to apply for a , you have to go either to the Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice.

Similarly, the Superior Court of Justice doesn't deal with adoption or child protection.

The issues each family court deals with are below.

Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice

This is the only court that hears all types of family law cases.

These are located in: Barrie, Bracebridge, Brockville, Cobourg, Cornwall, Durham Region, Hamilton, Kingston, Lindsay, London, L'Orignal, Napanee, Newmarket, Ottawa, Peterborough, Perth, and St. Catharines.

In places without a Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice, family cases are heard in either the Superior Court of Justice or the Ontario Court of Justice.

Superior Court of Justice

This court hears family law cases that deal with:

  • divorce
  • dividing property
  • , which used to be called
  • , which used to be called
  • restraining orders
  • appeals on adoption and child protection

It does not deal with adoption or child protection.

Ontario Court of Justice

This court hears family law cases that deal with:

  • child support
  • spousal support
  • decision-making responsibility, which used to be called custody
  • parenting time, which used to be called access
  • restraining orders
  • enforcing support in a
  • adoption
  • child protection

It does not deal with divorce or dividing property.

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