Respond to an application to get a new order in Supreme Court

Introduction

You've been served with a Notice of Family Claim (Form F3)

The applicant has served you with this form because they are applying in Supreme Court for:

  • a divorce,
  • an order under the Divorce Act or the Family Law Act, including parenting orders, support orders, and orders about property and debt,
  • a declaration of parentage (when the court is asked to declare that someone is the parent of a child), or
  • an annulment.

The Notice of Family Claim gives the court details about you and the applicant, your marriage and separation, and what the applicant is asking the court for.

Use a Response to Family Claim (Form F4) to respond to the Notice of Family Claim. You can agree with some things and not others. This guide will help you fill out the Response.

What does the law say about parenting, support, and property?

For more information on what the law says about parenting, child or spousal support, and property, see the following pages that may apply to your situation.

Read the application and prepare your response

You'll need:

  • The claimant's Notice of Family Claim (Form F3)
  • A Response to Family Claim (Form F4) (PDF) (Word)
  • A computer or a pen

Review the application

Read the Notice of Family Claim (Form F3) that your spouse served on you. It will include details about your relationship, the children (if there are any), and what orders the claimant is asking the court to make.

You have 30 days to respond. If you don't respond to the Notice of Family Claim before the deadline, the case is considered uncontested. The claimant can then file an application for a final order, including a final order for divorce.

Prepare your response

Complete a Response to Family Claim (Form F4) to respond to the Notice of Family Claim. You use this response to say what you agree with or disagree with on the Notice of Family Claim. For example, you might agree with some of the basic information provided (for example, the names of the children) but disagree with the orders the claimaint is asking the court to make.

If you agree with everything in the Notice of Family Claim, you don’t have to fill this form out. If your spouse is asking the court for a divorce and you don’t respond, then it will be an undefended (uncontested) divorce.

The form includes instructions to help you fill it out.

Keep in mind as you fill out your form:

  • You are the respondent.
  • Your spouse is the claimant.
  • Use everyone's full names, including middle names.
  • If you or your spouse often use an unofficial alias (a nickname) or a name other than the name on your marriage certificate, be sure to include the alias as well. Click the Add AKA/DBA button and enter the information in the fields provided.
    Example: If your spouse's legal name is Mary Jane Doe, but everyone calls her Janey Doe, click the Add AKA/DBA button. In the fields provided, enter "Janey Doe."

If you want to ask for orders yourself, you must fill out and file a Counterclaim (Form F5). See the next step.

Prepare your counterclaim, if necessary

You'll need:

  • A Counterclaim (Form F5) (PDF) (Word)

To ask the court for different parenting or support orders, file a Counterclaim (Form F5). You must serve and file the Counterclaim within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Family Claim (Form F3). Usually, you file and serve the Response to Family Claim and the Counterclaim at the same time.

Fill out the Counterclaim

Start by filling out the first two pages of the Counterclaim. The form has instructions right on it to help you fill it out. See Common questions about the Supreme Court PDF forms or Common questions about the Supreme Court Word forms for help using the forms.

Fill out the Schedules

The Counterclaim has five schedules (or sections). You only have to fill out the schedules that relate to the order you're asking for.

The five schedules (divorce, children, spousal support, property, and other) are in the PDF form. They are hidden when you first open the file. To make them appear:
  • At the top of the form, click Fill In Form.
  • On page 2, under Counterclaim, tick the appropriate boxes.
  • As you tick the first five options, the schedule for that option appears at the bottom of the form.

You only need to get a divorce if you've been legally married.

Fill out Schedule 1 if you're applying for a divorce. (If the claimant has applied for a divorce, you don't need to fill out this section or provide a copy of the marriage certificate.) Usually the grounds for divorce are that you've been living separately and apart from your spouse for at least one year.

Most divorces use the one-year separation ground. But you can also apply for a divorce earlier on the basis of adultery or physical or mental cruelty. If you ask for a divorce for one of these reasons, you have to present evidence to the court to prove the facts of the adultery or physical or mental cruelty.

If you're asking the court to grant you a divorce either now or at a later date, you need to file proof of your marriage (usually a marriage certificate) along with your Counterclaim. If you don't have a copy of your marriage certificate, see Getting a copy of your marriage certificate.

Fill out Schedule 2 if you're asking the court for any order related to your children. You're asking the court for any order related to the children. This includes orders for child support, guardianship, parental responsibilities, parenting time, contact with a child, custody, and access. For more information, see Parenting apart and Child support.

You need to provide all the information requested. If you're asking for a divorce, the court won't make an order unless they're satisfied that reasonable arrangements have been made for the children.

"Arrangements for parenting" refers to who will be responsible for making decisions about the children and if and how they will spend time with each parent.

If you're applying for an undefended divorce and asking for child support, make sure you fill in:
  • the amount of support you want, and
  • an amount for your spouse's income. If you're not sure, make your best estimate.

If you don't provide this information, the court may not make an order.

Fill out Schedule 3 if you're asking the court to make an order for spousal support (payments to support you, not the children). For more information, see Spousal support.

If you're married or lived together for at least two years, you must claim spousal support within two years of the divorce judgment.

If you're applying for an undefended divorce and asking for spousal support, make sure you fill in:
  • the amount of support you want, and
  • an amount for your spouse's income. If you're not sure, make your best estimate.

If you don't provide this information, the court may not make an order.

Schedule 4 is required if you're asking the court for any order to do with property and debt, like how you'll divide your property and other assets, and your debts.

For information, see Dividing property and debts after you separate and Dealing with debts after separation.

Complete Schedule 5 if you're asking for any other order, including a name change, a family law protection order, or an order declaring someone to be a child's parent.

You don't need to ask for a legal change of name if you’re just going back to the name you used before marriage.

Complete and affirm a Financial Statement (Form F8), if required

You'll need:

Complete the Financial Statement

If a child or spousal support claim is made against you or if you're making a claim for spousal support or more than just basic child support, you'll also have to file a Financial Statement (Form F8).

You must file and serve this Financial Statement within 30 days of receiving the Notice of Family Claim (Form F3).

In most cases, you'll file and serve your Financial Statement together with your Response to Family Claim (Form F4). This will save you time (and money, if you're using a process server to have your documents served on the other person).

See Conmplete a Supreme Court Financial Statement (Form F8) for more information.

Swear or affirm the Financial Statement (Form F8)

If you're required to file a Financial Statement (Form F8), you must swear or affirm that the information that appears in these documents is true. You have to do this in front of a:

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

Bring photo identification with you.

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

File the documents in the court registry

You'll need:

  • Your completed Response to Family Claim
  • Your completed Counterclaim, if you have one
  • Your completed Financial Statement, if required
  • $25 to file a Response to Family Claim
  • $200 to file a Counterclaim

Make copies of the documents

Once you've finished filling out your forms and having the Financial Statement sworn, make three copies of each document.

  • The registry keeps the original.
  • One copy is for you.
  • One copy is served on the other person.
  • One copy is to attach to the Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16).

File the forms at the Supreme Court registry

Take the original and the three copies, plus the filing fees, to the Supreme Court registry.

A clerk at the registry will take your money, check your documents, stamp them with the court seal, and put the originals into the file for your case. The three copies of the forms that you made will be given back to you.

Fees can change. Call the registry to confirm these rates (which are accurate as of March 2013).

The fees must be paid 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.
If you can't afford to pay court fees, see Get an order to waive fees.

Serve the documents on the other party

You'll need:

  • A copy of your filed documents to give to the other person
  • The other person's address for service
  • A copy of your filed documents to attach to the Affidavit of Ordinary Service (Form F16)

You need to serve the Response to Family Claim, Counterclaim (if you have one), and the Financial Statement (if required) on the other party within 30 days of when you were served the Notice of Family Claim.

There are rules about steps you have to take to make sure the other person gets these documents. See Serve Supreme Court documents for more information.

 

 

Make an agreement or get a court order

You and/or the other party can now:


You've now gone through the first steps of how to respond when your spouse starts a family law case in Supreme Court. Thank you for using our self-help guide.