Respond to an application to get an interim family order in Supreme Court

Supreme Court

Introduction

This guide gives you step-by-step instructions on how to respond to an application to get an interim family order in Supreme Court. You'll often find out about the application when you receive a Notice of Application (or sometimes a Notice of Judicial Case Conference) from the other person.

Before you can respond to the application for an interim order, you must:

  1. respond to a Notice of Family Claim (Form F3), and
  2. attend a Judicial Case Conference (JCC).

You've filed or responded to a Notice of Family Claim (Form F3)

The other person has filed a Notice of Family Claim (and Financial Statement [Form F8], if required) to start a family law case.

You can respond to the Notice of Family Claim by filing and serving a Response to Family Claim (Form F4) and serving a Financial Statement (Form F8). You may also file and serve a Counterclaim (Form F5) to start your own claim for child or spousal support or for parenting orders. If you don't respond to the Notice of Family Claim at all, the court can then make orders against you.

You've attended a Judicial Case Conference (JCC)

In most cases, before one person can apply for an interim order, both of you must attend a Judicial Case Conference. There are some cases where you don't have to attend, and there are some cases where you can ask to be exempted. For more information, see:

If you and the other person still can't agree on how to resolve your conflict after you've attended a JCC and the other person applies for an interim order, you may proceed with Step 1.

Prepare the next court documents

You'll need:

  • the applicant's completed documents for an interim order):
    • their Notice of Application (Form F31), and
    • their Affidavit (Form F30)
  • your Application Response (Form F32), (PDF) (Word), and 
  • your Affidavit (Form F30) (PDF) (Word) if you choose to prepare one

The person applying for the interim order is called the applicant. (The Notice of Family Claim (Form F3) calls them the "claimant".) You are the respondent.

The applicant must serve you with these documents 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 applicant serves the documents and the day of the hearing.)

The date and time for the hearing will be written on the Notice of Application (Form F31). Put this on your calendar. You won't get any further notice of the hearing date.

You have five business days from the time you receive these documents to file your Application Response (Form F32) and Affidavits (Form F30) at the court registry and serve a filed copy on the other person. If you don't file and serve these documents, the applicant can continue with the application and will appear at the court hearing without you. Orders can be made in your absence.

If you don't oppose the application and don't want to go to court, let the applicant know that so they can tell the judge/master that the application is unopposed. Generally, the judge/master will then make the order the applicant is requesting.

OR

You can choose to follow other procedures if you don't want to oppose the application or are willing to agree to the applicant's requests. For more information about these procedures, see Get an interim family order in Supreme Court if you both agree.

Fill out the forms

  • You need to fill out an Application Response (Form F32) (PDF) (Word)
  • You may also choose to prepare your own Affidavit (Form F30) (PDF) (Word) .

    The forms contain technical instructions to help you fill them out. For more help using the forms, see:

      Your affidavit in response to the application contains some of the evidence the judge/master uses in deciding whether to make the orders you want. If you want to tell the court about certain facts or circumstances that are relevant to your case, you must set them out in your affidavit or you won't be able to talk about them in court. Neither you nor the judge/master will be able to rely on information that isn't included in your affidavit.

      The affidavit you prepare must contain:

      • a description of who you are,
      • the reasons you're opposing the plaintiff's application,
      • any documents that back up what you say in the affidavit, and
      • the facts that support the orders you want.

      The affidavit is the written equivalent of giving evidence in court and must contain the truth. Add as many paragraphs to your affidavit as necessary to tell the court everything relevant to your response.

      The judge/master will review the information you and the other person provide about your family situation and decide on custody, guardianship, and access issues according to the child's best interests. The amount of child support will be determined according to the child support guidelines. (See child support.)

      For help writing the Affidavit, see our pages:

      There will be attachments, called exhibits, that go with your affidavit. The information you provide in these attachments must be accurate. You'll have to swear or affirm that the information is true.

      Swear or affirm the documents

      You'll need:

      • Your completed Affidavit (Form F30)
      You must swear or affirm that the information that appears in these documents is true. Any exhibits to your Affidavit must also be stamped and sworn.

      You have to do this in front of a:

      • lawyer,
      • notary public,
      • government agent, or
      • clerk at the court registry.

      Bring picture identification with you.

      Some people charge a lot more than others for this service. It's a good idea to shop around.

      If you swear the documents at the court registry, phone first to ask how much they charge for swearing an affidavit. See Who can swear an affidavit? for more information.

      As of March 27, 2020, you can swear a Supreme Court affidavit by videoconference if it's impossible or medically unsafe for you to meet a commissioner to swear an affidavit.

      File the documents and give them to the other person

      You'll need:

      • Your Application Response (Form F32)
      • Every Affidavit (Form F30) and every document you intend to refer to in court, if it hasn't already been filed at the registry as part of this case. For example, you may already have filed and served your Financial Statement (Form F8).
      • The other person's address for service
      • An Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16) (PDF) (Word)

      Make copies

      Make three copies of all your Application Response (Form F32) and every affidavit and other documents and any exhibits or attachments you referred to. If any of these documents have already been filed, you only need two copies.

      Your timeframe

      You have a strict timeframe. If you're going to oppose the other person's application, you must file and serve the documents for the hearing within five business days of being served with the Notice of Application (Form F31).

      File the forms at the Supreme Court registry

      Take to the registry:

      • your Application Response (Form F32), and
      • the original of every Affidavit (Form F30) and every document that you intend to refer to in court, if it hasn't already been filed at the registry as part of this case.

      Serve the documents on the other person

      On the same day, you must also serve two copies of your Application Response, Affidavits and any exhibits that have not already been served on the other person.

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

      • leave the documents at the other person's address for service (the address they put on their court documents, such as their Notice of Application),
      • mail the documents by regular post to the other person's address for service, or
      • email or fax the documents, if the other person provided an email address or fax number as part of their address for service.

      For more information on serving documents and help with filling out an Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16), see Serve Supreme Court documents by ordinary service. If the other person doesn't attend the hearing, the Affidavit of Ordinary Service will prove to the judge that you served the documents in time.

      Receive and review further documents

      You'll need:

      • Any new affidavits from the applicant
      • The Application Record Index

      More affidavits

      After the other person receives your documents, they may send you more affidavits. These documents must be served on you before 4 pm one full business day before the date set for the hearing.  Any new affidavits should contain only new information not included in the earlier affidavits served with the Notice of Application (Form F31).

      Application Record Index

      The other person must provide the court with a binder of all the material for the hearing, including your Application Response and your affidavits. This is called the Application Record. The other person must provide you with the index (table of contents) to the Application Record, no later than 4 pm one full business day before the hearing. (This means that one full business day must pass in between the day you are served and the hearing day.)

      If any documents are missing from the index

      Read the index carefully to make sure that all the documents you want to show to the judge are included in the Application Record. (Some of your documents, such as the Response to Family Claim (Form F4), only need to be in the Application Record if you plan to refer to them.) 

      If something is missing from the index, tell the other person immediately, by fax or email if possible, and ask them to include the missing documents. Make a copy of this letter for the judge. Bring two extra copies of any missing documents to the hearing so that you can give one each to the judge and the other person, if necessary. Bring along the Affidavit(s) of Ordinary Service (Form F16) to prove that the documents were delivered to the other person and should have been in the Application Record.

      Prepare an Application Record for yourself, if you want

      You'll need:

      • All the documents you received from the applicant
      • All the documents you filed in your response
      • The Application Record Index the other person sent you
      • A ring binder large enough to hold all the documents
      • Divider tabs

      An Application Record is a loose-leaf ring binder, divided by tabs, that contains your information and evidence and includes a table of contents called an index. The other person is responsible for providing the Application Record to the court and for sending you a copy of the index. 

      If you want, you can make your own copy. This will help you to organize the information and evidence that you need in court, making it easier for you to follow the court proceedings because you, the judge, and the other person will all have the same materials, in the same order.

      To make your own binder, follow the Application Record index the other person sent you, inserting all the documents (yours and the ones you received from the other person) in the same order as they're listed in the index.

      If there are materials missing from this index, add them to the end of the index.

      The Application Record can include draft orders, written arguments, lists of authorities (any case, textbook, article, or statute you might use to support your argument) or a draft bill of costs. The Application Record must not include Affidavits of Service, copies of authorities, or other documents unless the other person has agreed to you including these.

      Prepare for and appear in court

      Getting ready for your court appearance

      You'll be appearing in Chambers where the applicant will ask a judge/master to make the orders that the applicant wants. See What happens in a Supreme Court Chambers hearing? to find out more.

      Adjourning the hearing

      If the date on the Notice of Application (Form F31) won't work out for some reason (for example, if you're not ready), you must still go to court and stand up and ask for an adjournment. If you really can't go to court on that day, ask someone to go in your place to ask for an adjournment. This person will need an affidavit — or at least a signed letter — from you explaining the circumstances. You'll have to give a good reason for asking for an adjournment. If you don't show up in court that day, the judge/master may make the order the other person asks for in your absence and the judge/master may order costs against you.

      If you come to an agreement

      If you and the applicant come to an agreement about any of the orders that the applicant wants before the hearing, you should both go to court on the date set for the hearing to tell the judge/master that you've both agreed. If you don't want to go to court, you can tell the applicant that his or her application is undefended (uncontested). See Get an interim order in Supreme Court if you agree.

      Review and sign the interim family order

      Who writes the order?

      After you appear in court, the other person (or their lawyer) will prepare a interim order that says what the judge/master decided. If you or the other person is represented by a lawyer, the court usually requires that the lawyer prepare the order, no matter who initiated the application. Ask for a chance to review and sign the order once the lawyer has written it, before it's given to the court registry.

      If you disagree with the way the interim order was written, you can ask for a copy of the clerk's notes from the registry to compare what the judge/master said with what has been written in the interim order. If you still disagree, you can ask for the written reasons to compare them to the order. If you and the other person still disagree, you can apply to have the interim order settled. Get legal advice.

      Disagreeing with what was ordered isn't the same as disagreeing with how it was written down in the interim order. If you disagree with what was ordered, get legal advice as soon as possible. You need to know if you can apply to change the interim order or if an appeal would be appropriate; there are important time limits to follow for filing an appeal. If an appeal isn't appropriate, you'll need to decide if you want to go to trial. Appeals are only successful if there's a significant error in law, which doesn't happen very often in family Chambers applications.

      If you agree that the order as written or amended is correct, sign in the correct place on the last page of the order and return it to the person who sent it to you. Ask for a copy of the entered (filed) order to be sent to you. Before you return the signed order, make a copy of it for your records.

      Get a copy of the order

      The other person will pick up the signed and entered interim order and mail a copy to you. This signed and sealed order is your official court order; be sure to keep a copy of it.

      If you don't receive a copy of the order within three or four weeks, you can go to the court registry and ask whether the order has been entered. If it has been, you can get a copy of the filed order from the court file. You may have to pay for photocopying.

      If the court makes a child or spousal support order, you may want to register the order with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP). FMEP is a provincial government service that helps people get the maintenance payments they are entitled to. If you're a payor under an order, it can be to your advantage to register because FMEP keeps an accurate record of all the payments that you send. This prevents disputes with the other party as to whether money has been paid under the order.

      For more information, see the Family Justice (Attorney General ministry) website.

      For information about how to contact the FMEP, see the FMEP website.

       

      You've now gone through all the steps required to respond to an application for an interim family order in Supreme Court. Thank you for using our self-help guide.