If the other person doesn't respond to your application for an order

Provincial Court
Supreme Court

If the other person (the law calls them the other party) in your case doesn't respond to your application for a court order by the deadline, your next steps depend on:

Provincial Court

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

  • file an Affidavit of Personal Service (Form F5) (you'll find this near the end of Form 1 or Form 2), and
  • ask for an appearance.

The court clerk will give you a court date. When you go to court, the judge might make an order.

If you're trying to get, change, or cancel an order in Provincial Court and the other person doesn't respond by the legal deadline:

  1. File an Affidavit of Personal Service at the registry. See Serve Provincial Court documents to find out more about this.
  2. When you go to the registry, ask the court clerk to give you a court date. This date is for a first appearance. The court clerk will send a notice to the other person (who's now called the respondent).
  3. Prepare your documents. (See Change a family order in Provincial Court if you can't both agree or Get a final family order in Provincial Court if you can't both agree to find out how to do this.)
  4. Take your documents to court the day you were told to be there. Be ready to tell the judge which order you want and why. If the other person doesn't show up, the judge has a few options. They can:
    • make an interim order,
    • assume that the other person consents (agrees) to the order,
    • make assumptions about the other person's income (in the case of support orders),
    • issue a summons so the other person has to come to court, or
    • make a final order.
See Final and interim court orders to find out more about final and interim orders.

Even if the other person doesn't respond to your application before the deadline, if they turn up for the first appearance or respond later, the judge or master might give them a new deadline to respond, especially if they don't have a lawyer. This is because it's difficult to make a fair decision if the court only hears one side of a story.

Supreme Court

The law says you have an undefended family law case if:

  • you file a Notice of Family Claim (Form F3) in Supreme Court, and
  • the other person doesn't respond by the legal deadline.

If a divorce is involved, it's often called an uncontested divorce.

Even if the court doesn't hear from one of the people involved, it can:

  • make orders about
    • parenting,
    • support, and
    • property, and
  • order a divorce.

But you have to prove that:

  • the other person has been served with all the documents, and
  • appropriate arrangements have been made for any children.
See Do your own uncontested divorce to find out how to do this. It can also help you get parenting, support, or property orders. The process is the same.

Even if the other person doesn't respond to your application before the deadline, if they respond later, the judge might give them a new deadline to respond, especially if they don't have a lawyer. This is because it's difficult to make a fair decision if the court only hears one side of a story.

If you show up in court with your documents, the judge or master can make an order.

Most family cases aren't sorted out at trials. Going to court can take a long time and cost a lot of money.

Instead, many people:

  • ask the court for an interim order, and
  • then sort out a final resolution later without going back to court.
See Final and interim court orders to find out more about this.

If you've filed a Notice of Application (Form F31) to ask the court for an interim order or a change to an order and the other person hasn't responded by the legal deadline:

  1. Follow the instructions in Get an interim family order in Supreme Court if you can't both agree or Change a family order in Supreme Court if you can't both agree (whichever one applies to you).
  2. Go to court on the hearing day. Be ready to let the judge or master know which orders you want. You'll need to prove that you served the other person with the documents. The judge or master will then decide whether to:
    • hear your application even though the other person isn't there,
    • make an order about what other evidence they need to see before they can make a decision, or
    • make an interim order.

Even if the other person doesn't respond to your application before the deadline, if they turn up for the hearing or respond later, the judge or master might give them a new deadline to respond, especially if they don't have a lawyer. This is because it's difficult to make a fair decision if the court only hears one side of a story.