Enforce a parenting agreement or order in Supreme Court

Introduction

This guide is to help you ask the court to enforce a parenting agreement or order, and impose consequences, if the other parent isn't following the agreement or order. For example:

  • If they don't show up or aren't available to care for a child as agreed or ordered.
  • If they refuse to let you spend time with the child.

Can you agree?

Supreme Court applications cost time and money. Before you start a court process, think about whether you can get the other person to follow your agreement or order without going to court. See Who can help you reach an agreement? for resources and services. You can also try to work things out at a Judicial Case Conference in Step 2.

Do this guide only if:

  • you can't come to an agreement, AND
  • the other parent repeatedly fails to follow your order or agreement; OR
  • the other parent's failure to follow your order or agreement has caused you and your child extreme inconvenience and has cost you money.
If your application is unsuccessful, the judge might award costs against you. This means you'll have to pay some of the other person's court costs and legal expenses, as well as your own.
Wellness

Work through this guide at your own pace. There's no need to rush.

File the agreement you want to enforce

You'll need

If you're applying to enforce an agreement, you must first file it with the court. Filing your agreement is straightforward and either you or the other person can do it.

If either or you have already filed your agreement with the court, go straight to Step 2.

If you're applying to enforce a court order, go straight to Step 2. Court orders are already filed with the court.

  1. Make a copy of your signed agreement.
  2. Fill out the Requisition (Form F17.1). The Requisition is a request to file the agreement. When you fill out the Requisition, you're the claimant, and the other person is the respondent.
  3. Take the Requisition, a copy of your agreement, and the $30 filing fee to a Supreme Court registry. You'll have to return to the same Supreme Court registry to complete your application, so choose one that's convenient.

    Fees sometimes change. You can confirm the amount by calling the registry or checking the Supreme Court Civil Rules.

    You must pay the fee in cash, or with a certified cheque or money order made out to the Minister of Finance. Many court registries will also take debit cards, but check first.

  4. The registry clerk will:
    • check your documents,
    • take your payment,
    • stamp your documents with the court seal and your file number, and
    • put your documents into the file for your case.

You now have an open family law case and can take steps to enforce your agreement. Write down your court file number to use on the rest of your forms.

Wellness

This is a long process that will take a while to complete. Take your time.

Attend a Judicial Case Conference

You'll need

  • To attend a Judicial Case Conference, if you haven't already

Before you file an application to enforce an agreement, you and the other person must attend a Judicial Case Conference (JCC). A JCC is a meeting between you, the other person, your lawyers (if you have them), and a judge or master. It's an opportunity to see if you can settle your case without going to court. If you can't, it can also help you prepare for the hearing.

For a step-by-step guide on how to schedule, prepare for, and attend a JCC, see Deal with a Judicial Case Conference.

If you and the other person still can't agree after the JCC, go to Step 3: Fill out the forms to apply for an order to enforce the agreement or order.

Fill out the forms

You'll need

  • A Notice of Application (Form F31) (PDF) (Word)
  • An Affidavit (Form F30) (PDF) (Word)
  • Your photo identification
  • Someone to swear or affirm your Affidavit

If you don't work things out at the Judicial Case Conference (JCC), you must fill out:

  • a Notice of Application (Form F31), and
  • an Affidavit (Form F30) as evidence to support the application.

You can fill out these forms on your computer, or print the PDF and fill it out by hand.

Notice of Application (Form F31)

Follow these steps to fill out the first part of the Notice of Application:

  • The Word form has instructions to help you fill it out. If you're using the PDF form, click the green Fill in form button at the top of the page (the button will change to say Print Preview). Or, to fill it out by hand, click Prepare paper copy and print it.
  • Fill in your court file number at the top of the form and choose your Supreme Court registry from the drop-down menu. Use the same registry where your agreement or orders are filed.
  • Fill in your name as the claimant and check Filing Party. Add the other person's name as the respondent and check Affected Party.
  • On the lines below the heading Notice of Application, fill in your names and the address of your Supreme Court registry. You're the applicant and the other person is the person affected.
  • For the date and time, you can either:
    • leave it blank and get a date and time for your hearing when you go to the registry, or
    • check the BC Supreme Court Scheduling page and put an available date on the form. To find out what dates are available, select the registry where you're filing your Notice of Application from the drop-down. Download the PDF that has the available dates for Family Chambers or Chambers and choose a date that suits you. Phone the registry if you need help.

In Part 1: Order(s) sought, tell the court what orders you're asking for. See What happens if you don't follow a parenting agreement or order? for more information about what orders the court can make.

In Part 2: Factual basis, tell the court why you're asking for an order. Describe what the other person has done or is doing to break the terms of your parenting agreement or order.

In Part 3: Legal basis, tell the court if you're relying on a law or legal argument in asking to enforce the agreement or order.

In Part 4: Material to be relied on, on each of the lines fill in the number 1, your name, and the date you make your Affidavit (Form F30). List any other affidavits you want to use.

Affidavit (Form F30)

Your Affidavit (Form F30) is the evidence that supports your application. In your Affidavit, you must include information about:

  • your arrangements for parenting,
  • what the other person did or didn't do that went against your agreement or order, and
  • the consequences (for example, you had to pay for childcare, your children were upset, etc.).

Attach your order or agreement to the Affidavit as an exhibit.

Once you've filled in all the information, you need to have the Affidavit sworn. A commissioner for taking affidavits will witness your signature.

Swear or affirm the Affidavit

After you've completed the Affidavit you must swear or affirm that the information that appears in it is true. You can have it sworn by a:

  • lawyer,
  • notary public, or
  • commissioner for taking affidavits.

There will usually be at least one clerk at a court registry able to swear affidavits.

Some people charge more for this service than others.

If you're going to a lawyer or a notary public, make sure they can swear or affirm the document for you. Mention that the document is an affidavit and attachments and make an appointment if you need to. Tell the person that you don't need advice.

Take photo identification (ID) with you. The person swearing the documents will check your ID. Then they'll ask if you've read the affidavit and if you swear (or affirm) that the contents are true to the best of your knowledge and belief. If you answer yes, you sign the documents, and the person witnesses your signature.

File and serve

You'll need

  • Enough time until your hearing date to serve your documents on the other person
  • Your completed Notice of Application (Form F31)
  • Your sworn Affidavit (Form F30) and its attached exhibit(s)
  • $80 to file your Notice of Application
  • A blank Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16) (PDF) (Word)
  • A responding Affidavit (Form F30) (PDF) (Word), if you need one

This step is divided into three parts.

1. File the documents

Make copies of your documents

  1. Make three photocopies (so you have the original plus three copies) of:
    • the Notice of Application (Form F31),
    • your sworn Affidavit (Form F30) with exhibits, if any, and
    • any other Affidavits you'll be relying on.
  2. Keep the originals together and make three separate sets that contain one copy of each document:
    • the registry keeps the originals and sometimes one copy
    • one set is for you
    • one set is to serve on the other person

File the documents at the registry

File the Notice of Application (Form F31) and the supporting documents at the Supreme Court registry. The registry clerk will stamp your documents with the court seal and put your documents into the file for your case.

2. Serve the documents

You can serve the documents by ordinary service. This means you can:

You can only serve a document to an address the other person has listed as an address for service on their court documents. If you don't have documents with their address for service, mail it to their last known address.

You must serve the documents on the other person at least eight full business days before the date set for the hearing. This means that eight full business days must pass in between the day the documents are considered served on the other person and the hearing day. If you mail the documents, you need to allow an extra week.

A mailed document is considered served one week later on the same day of the week as the day of mailing. If that day is a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it'll be considered served on the next business day. Don't mail the documents if the hearing is less than 14 business days away.

A document that's emailed, faxed, or left at a person's address for service is considered served on that day if it's served at or before 4 pm on a business day. If it's left after 4 pm or on a Saturday, Sunday, or holiday, it's considered served on the next business day.

Complete the Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form 16)

If you think the other person won't show up, you'll need to prove that you've served your documents on them by filling out an Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16).

Attach copies of the served documents to the Affidavit. Each copy must be marked as an Exhibit and labelled Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C, etc. (depending on how many documents there are). If the documents aren't attached and properly marked, your Affidavit won't be accepted by the court and you'll have to have the documents served again.

Take the Affidavit and attachments to a lawyer, a notary public, or a clerk at the court registry to swear or affirm that the documents have been served. (There's a fee for this.) The lawyer, notary, or clerk will sign the Affidavit, and stamp and sign each attachment.

Have the sworn affidavit ready to show in court if the other person doesn't attend. If this happens, you can ask the judge to order the other person to pay part of your legal costs.

3. Wait and respond, if necessary

Wait for a response

The other person must respond within five business days from when they're served with your Notice of Application (Form F31).

The other person responds by filing:

  • an Application Response (Form F32), and
  • each Affidavit (Form F30) and any other document referred to in the Application Response that hasn't already been filed.

If the other person agrees with what you're asking for, you have three options:

  • Withdraw your application if you don’t need an order.
  • You both show up in court on the date set for the hearing and ask for a consent order (an order you both agree to).
  • Switch to our step-by-step guide Get an interim family order in Supreme Court if you both agree and follow the steps. The process for getting an interim order if you agree can be simpler and you might not have to go to court.

Prepare another affidavit, if necessary

If you receive an affidavit from the other person that contains new facts or issues, you might want to complete a responding Affidavit (Form F30). You must only respond to new information in the other person's new affidavit.

You must file your responding affidavits before 4 pm on the business day that's one full business day before the date set for the hearing. (This means that one full business day must pass in between the day you're served and the hearing day.)

Wellness

Paperwork can be tedious and tiring. Take breaks, drink water, and remember you don't have to do it all at once.

Prepare an Application Record

You'll need

  • Two one-inch or one-and-a-half-inch binders
  • Two sets of tabbed divider pages with numbers
  • Two elastic bands big enough to go around the binders
  • Copies of all your documents, including:
    • your filed Notice of Application (Form F31),
    • the other person's Application Response (Form F32), and Affidavits, if you receive them,
    • your responding Affidavits, if you had any, and
  • A blank Application Record index (PDF) (Word)

An Application Record is a loose-leaf ring binder, divided by tabs, that contains the documents filed for the application and the legal arguments you'll rely on to make your case. The judge or master will use this information, along with what you say in court, to decide whether to give you the order you're asking for.

You need two copies of the Application Record: one for you and one for the court. The court will return their copy to you at the end of the court hearing.

The Application Record can include:

  • draft orders
  • written arguments
  • lists of authorities (citations for any case, textbook, article, or statute you might use to support your argument)
  • a draft bill of costs

You can't include Affidavits of Service, copies of authorities, or other documents unless the other person has agreed to let you.

Steps for preparing an Application Record

Follow these steps to assemble each of two Application Records:

Prepare a cover page for the outside of the binder. You can download and fill in the blank Supreme Court cover page (Word).

Your cover page must contain:

  • the style of proceedings (names of the parties), court file number, and registry;
  • the title APPLICATION RECORD and a brief description of what the material is about (for example, Application to enforce a parenting order);
  • contact information for each person involved in the case (the law calls them a party) or their lawyers, including addresses for service, phone and fax numbers or email addresses that the registry can use to contact you;
  • the time, date, and place of the hearing;
  • the name of the person or lawyer who's filing the Application Record (you or your lawyer); and
  • the length of time estimated for the hearing.

Prepare a title page for the inside of the binder. The title page should have:

  • the style of cause,
  • the names of you and the other person (the parties), and
  • the names of your lawyers, if either of you have them.

Your style of cause is all the information above the title on your Notice of Family Claim (Form F3). Copy this information exactly as it appears on that document.

If your tabbed dividers don't have consecutive numbers, number them beginning with 1. Put the tabbed dividers into the binder.

Punch holes in one copy of each of the documents in the remaining set of photocopies you've collected and add them to the binder in the following order:

  • Tab 1 — Two copies of your filed Notice of Application (Form F31). Secure one copy in the binder, but leave the other copy loose. On the loose copy, highlight or mark in some way which orders you'll be referring to at the hearing.
  • Tab 2 — The Application Response (Form F32), if you receive one from the other person.
  • Tab 3 — Your Affidavit (Form F30) to support the application.
  • Tab 4 — Any of your previous affidavits or financial statements that you want the court to consider.
  • Tab 5 — An affidavit in response to the application from the other person, if you receive one.
  • Tab 6 — Your responding affidavit, if any.

Your Application Record needs a table of contents (called an index).

Use the blank Application Record index to make your table of contents for the binder. List all the documents that are in the Application Record. Your finished index should look like our sample completed Application Record index.

Insert the index in the Application Record before tab 1 and behind the title page.

Wrap an elastic band around the whole binder. Then repeat the process to create a second Application Record.

Serve the Application Record index on the other person and file the Application Record at the court registry

You must complete the following steps before 4 pm on the day that's one full business day before the date set for the hearing in your Notice of Application. (This means that one full business day must pass in between these steps and the hearing day.)

File a copy of your Application Record at the registry

Give one copy of the full Application Record to the court registry.

Serve a copy of your index

If the other person responded to your Notice of Application, serve a copy of the Application Record index on them by ordinary service. Go back to Step 4: File and serve for instructions on serving documents by ordinary service.

You can't file these documents before 9 am on the business day that's three full business days before your hearing. This is because the court registry only has limited space for storing hearing materials.

Prepare the draft Final Order

You'll need

Go to the hearing

You'll be appearing in Chambers to ask a judge or master to make the orders you want. See What happens in a Supreme Court Chambers hearing? to find out more about Chambers.

After the hearing

After you appear in court, you need to prepare a Final Order (Form F52) that says what the judge or master decided. The form contains technical instructions to help you.

If you or the other person has a lawyer, the lawyer will usually prepare the final order. This applies even though it's your application. If this happens, ask to review and sign the order before the lawyer gives it to the court registry.

At this point, the order is called a draft order. Make a copy of the draft order for your records until you get the entered Final Order.

You and the other person (or their lawyer) must both sign the order unless the other person didn't appear at the hearing.

File the draft order at the court registry

Take your completed and signed draft order and copy to the court registry where the hearing was held.

The court registry staff will review the order, then have it signed by the court, stamped, and entered or filed.

Entering the order can take several weeks. Give the clerk a self-addressed envelope if you'd like them to mail it to you. If not, ask the court registry clerk when you might be able to pick up the entered order.

Pick up your entered Final Order

Check with the registry to ask when your Final Order is ready for you to pick up. The registry won't contact you when it's ready.

The entered (signed, sealed, and filed) order is your official court order. Keep it safe.

Give a copy to the other person

Once you have your entered order, make extra copies. Keep one for your records, and give one to the other person.


You've completed all the steps to apply to enforce a court order or agreement. Thank you for using our step-by-step guide.

Wellness

That was hard work. And you did it! Appreciate yourself.