How to Start A Family Law Proceeding – Part 1
The start a family court proceeding you need to file a document called an Application. An Application is a pleading, which means it is a document which sets out what is going to be covered in the family court proceedings. If you don’t ask for something in your Application, then you won’t be able to get it in Court. In order to start a family court proceeding in relation to children, the children must be living in the jurisdiction of the Court where you are starting the proceeding.
You have to give a lot of thought to what you are going to ask for because it can affect what other documents you have to file at the same time as your Application, and it also affects what court you are in. In Ontario there are three (3) courts to deal with family law matters. The Family Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In this court you can ask for any kind of family law order from custody to property division. However, not all parts of Ontario have this court. If you don’t have a Family Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in your area, then you likely will live close to either the Ontario Court of Justice (which deals with child custody and access, spousal support, and name change issues) or the Superior Court of Justice (which deals with divorce and property matters). Many people find these different courts confusing.
Once you have filled out all your paperwork, you must take three copies of it to the Court office. You also need to put all your documents into an open and closable 3 hole punch binding. The Court clerk will look over your documents and make sure they have everything they need to. If they do, then the clerk will give you back two copies. One you keep, the other you serve on the other party (usually your ex-boyfriend or spouse). You must hire someone else to give the document to the other party because you are not allowed to do this yourself. Someone has to physically hand the documents over to the other party. You can’t just leave it in their mailbox or under their wind shield wiper.
Check back in about two weeks for Part 2.