Step 1: review the forms you were served with

It is important to review the forms you’ve been served with because they will determine your next steps. Read all the forms and documents you received closely because they can include:

  • the date when you need to appear in court
  • instructions about what to do next
  • when you need to respond

Step 2: fill out your Answer and supporting documents

In order to respond to an application, you will need to prepare a few documents. Learn more about filling out court documents.

To respond to an application, you will need to complete:

  • Form 10: Answer to say why you agree or don’t agree with the claims that the applicant is making and make your own claims

Depending on your circumstances and what you’re asking for, you will also need to prepare:

You should make at least two copies of all your completed forms – one copy for yourself, one copy for the applicant, and the original for the court.

Get help completing your court forms

If you want help filling out the forms and you do not have a lawyer, you can:

Learn more about the available resources.

Step 3: serve all your documents

After you have completed, signed, and sworn or affirmed (if needed) your forms, you have to serve (in other words, deliver the documents to) the applicant and every other party named in your case.

You can serve the documents by:

  • yourself, using regular or special service
  • asking a friend or a family member who is over the age of 18
  • hiring a professional process server to serve the forms for you

Make copies of all your documents that you completed in Step 2 and serve them on every party named in the case within:

  • 30 calendar days if you were served with the application in Canada or the United States
  • 60 calendar days if you were served with the application outside Canada or the United States

There are rules about how to count time correctly for the purpose of a court case. If you don’t follow these rules, court staff may not accept your documents.

Learn more about serving documents in a family case.

Step 4: file your documents with proof of service

After you have served the applicant and any other party in your case, you must complete Form 6B: Affidavit of Service (one for each party that was served) and file it with all your original documents at the courthouse location listed at the top of the forms you received from the applicant. This is the courthouse with the file containing all the information about your case. You have to go to this location any time you need to appear in court or file a document for this case.

You must include your original documents and Form 6B in the Continuing Record for your case and update the table of contents.

Learn more about the proof of service and how to file it.

Court filing fees

If your case is at the Superior Court of Justice or the Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice, you may be required to pay a court fee or you may qualify for a fee waiver in order to file your responding documents. If you’re eligible for a fee waiver, you won’t have to pay most fees. Learn more about fee waivers and how to ask for one

There is no fee to file documents at the Ontario Court of Justice.

Learn more about court filing fees.

Next Steps

There are a number of steps that may be required in your family court case.

You should always make sure you know what the next step is in your family court process. If you are not sure, court staff or a lawyer can help you understand what steps may be required in your case.

Mandatory Information Program (MIP)

In most circumstances, you and the other party will be required to attend different, free MIP sessions before your first appearance or conference. This session will happen no later than 45 days after the case was started.

Learn more about Mandatory Information Program sessions.

First appearance

The first appearance date will be written on the first page of the application form if your case is at the Ontario Court of Justice or the Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice, unless there are divorce or property claims in your case.

Learn more about the first appearance.

Case conference

If your case is at the Superior Court of Justice and the first appearance date is not written on the first page of the application, you or the applicant are responsible for scheduling your first court appearance, which is usually a case conference.

Learn more about the case conference.


A motion is a request by the parties for a temporary decision by the judge before the final outcome in the case.

The Family Law Rules generally require parties to attend a case conference before any motions can be made, unless there is a situation of urgency or hardship that requires a judge’s decision immediately.

Learn more about motions.