What to do if the other party doesn't respond to your application for an order

If the other party hasn't responded to your application for a court order, and the deadline to respond has passed, what you do next depends on which documents you filed and in which court.

Provincial Court

If you filed an Application to Obtain an Order (Form 1) or Application to Change or Cancel an Order (Form 2)

File the Affidavit of Personal Service and ask for an appearance. The court clerk will give you a court date. When you go to court, the judge may make an order.

More information

If you are trying to get, change, or cancel an order in Provincial Court and the other party doesn't respond within the amount of time set out in the rules:

  1. File an Affidavit of Personal Service at the registry. For more information, see our self-help guide How to serve Provincial Court documents.
  2. When you go to the registry, ask the court clerk to give you a court date. This is called a first appearance. The court clerk will send a notice to the other party, and the other party (respondent) may show up to the court date.
  3. Prepare your documents. (For help, see one of our guides, either the one on How to change a family order or the one on How to get a final family order.)
  4. Go to the court date with your documents. Be ready to tell the judge which order you want and why. If the other party doesn't show up, the judge has some options. He or she may:
    • Make an interim order.
    • Assume that the other party consents (agrees) to the order.
    • Make assumptions about the other party's income (in the case of support orders).
    • Issue a summons that requires the other party to attend court.
    • Make a final order.

(For more information about interim orders and final orders, see our fact sheet All about court orders.) Be aware that, even if the other party doesn't respond to your application before the deadline, if he or she shows up at a court date or responds later, the judge or master could allow his or her response and extend the timelines — especially if the other party doesn't have a lawyer. This is because it's difficult to make a fair decision without having heard from all of the parties involved.


Supreme Court

If you filed a Notice of Family Claim (Form F3)

You have to prove that the other party has been served and that appropriate arrangements have been made before the court will make any order.

More information

If you file a Notice of Family Claim (Form F3) in Supreme Court and the other party doesn't respond within the time frame set out in the rules, this is an undefended family law case. If a divorce is involved, it's often referred to as an uncontested divorce. The court can make orders related to parenting, support, and property and order a divorce without having heard from one of the parties. This is called a desk order.

However, before the court can do so, you must take a number of steps to prove that the other party has been served with the documents and that appropriate arrangements have been made for any children. For step-by-step help with this process, see our self-help guide How to do your own undefended (uncontested) divorce. (You can still use this guide even if you aren't asking for a divorce order. The guide can help you get parenting, support, or property orders as well. The process is the same.)

Be aware that even if the other party doesn't respond to your application before the deadline, if he or she shows up at a court date or responds later, the judge or master could allow his or her response and extend the timelines — especially if the other party doesn't have a lawyer. This is because it's difficult to make a fair decision without having heard from all of the parties involved.


If you filed a Notice of Application (Form F31) for an interim order or to change an order

Show up in court with your materials, and the judge or master can make an order.

More information

Taking a case to trial can take a long time and be very expensive. Most family cases aren't resolved at trials. Instead, many people ask the court for an interim order and then negotiate a final resolution later, outside of court. For more information, see our fact sheet All about court orders.

If you've filed a Notice of Application (Form F31) asking the court for an interim order or a change to an order and the other party doesn't respond by the deadline:

  1. Follow the step-by-step instructions in the self-help guide that applies to you (either How to get an interim family order if you can't agree or How to change a family order if you can't agree), including filing and serving all the required documents.
  2. Go to court on the hearing day. Be ready to let the judge/master know which orders you want. You'll need to show evidence that you served the other party with the documents. The judge/master will then decide whether to:
    • hear your application without the other party there,
    • make an order about what other evidence needs to be brought to court before a decision can be made, or
    • make an interim order.

Be aware that even if the other party doesn't respond to your application before the deadline, if he or she shows up at a court date or responds later, the judge or master could allow his or her response and extend the timelines — especially if the other party doesn't have a lawyer. This is because it's difficult to make a fair decision without having heard from all of the parties involved.

 

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