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Get your partner's answer

Your partner has 30 days to fill out, serve, and file their documents in response to your documents.

But, if they need more time, they can bring a regular motion asking the court for more time to file their response. The Step Bring a regular motion gives you more information about how they can do this.

They have to fill out Form 10: Answer where they can:

  • agree or disagree with what you have said
  • make new claims (or ask for new things)

For example, your partner may agree to your custody and access plans, but disagree with the amount of child support you're asking for. And they may add a new claim for spousal support.

They also give you a copy of their:

Your partner must serve you with a copy of their documents. Form 10: Answer, and other documents in a family court case, can be served in more ways than Form 8: Application.

Your partner serves you by regular service or special service. Serve your documents below explains how they do this.

See Count time below to understand how to calculate days or time correctly. This is important because court staff may not accept your partner's documents if they haven't followed the rules.

Count time

Rule 3: Time tells you how to count time or days.

You must follow court rules that say the day by which you have to:

  • serve your partner, or other people or agencies, with your documents
  • file your documents with the court
  • confirm your court dates

When you serve your documents, counting starts on the day after the “effective” service day. The effective service day depends on how you served the documents. If you served them:

  • personally - service is effective the same day
  • by mail - service is effective 5 days after the documents are mailed
  • by courier - service is effective the day after the courier picks it up
  • by fax - service is effective the day it is faxed as long as it is faxed before 4 p.m. on a day when the court is open
  • at your partner’s home with anyone who seems to be an adult and then mailed to that address - service is effective 5 days after the documents are mailed

For example, suppose your partner has to get your documents at least 7 days before the date of your motion. If you serve them personally on Monday, the first day you count is Tuesday and the 7th day is the following Monday.

If the last day is a holiday, the time period ends on the next day that is not a holiday.

But if you have less than 7 days to serve or file your documents or to confirm your court date, then Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays when court offices are closed are not counted.

Counting time or days is important because court staff won’t accept your documents if you have not followed the rules.

Serve your documents

Rule 6: Service of documents tells you how to serve your partner and any other people or agencies you have to serve.

Documents can be served in 2 ways – by special service or by regular service. The Family Law Rules tell you which way you have to serve your documents at each step in the court process.

You can usually serve your partner yourself, or get a family member or friend who is at least 18 years old or a professional process server to do it for you.

Special service

To serve your documents by special service means you, a family member or friend who is at least 18 years old or a professional process server must do one of the following:

  • give a copy to your partner directly
  • leave a copy with your partner’s lawyer
  • mail a copy to your partner, but your partner must send back a special form to confirm they received the document
  • leave a copy in an envelope addressed to your partner at your partner’s home with any adult living with your partner, and then mail a copy of the documents to that address within one day

Special service is usually used for documents that start the case or documents that could lead to the person being served going to jail.

Regular Service

To serve your documents by regular service means you, a family member or friend who is at least 18 years old or a professional process server, must do one of the following:

  • mail a copy to your partner or their lawyer
  • courier a copy to your partner or their lawyer
  • fax a copy to your partner or their lawyer
  • serve a copy by special service

The following documents can only be served by special service:

  • an Application
  • a motion to change
  • a summons to witness
  • a notice of contempt motion
  • a notice of motion or notice of default hearing where the person to be served faces a possibility of jail

6B: Affidavit of Service

After your documents are served, you, or whoever served the documents, must fill out Form 6B: Affidavit of Service. This can be done at the court counter, with the help of the court clerk.

Form 6B asks for:

  • the name of the person who served the documents
  • the name of the person or agency that was served
  • when the documents were served (day, month, and year)
  • where the documents were served (the complete address)
  • what documents were served (Application, Answer, Reply, notice of motion)
  • how the documents were served (in person, at place of residence, by regular mail, courier, or fax)

You must swear or affirm that the information in your form is true before you sign it. You do this in front of a notary public or commissioner for taking affidavits. This person also signs and dates the form.

You can be charged with committing a crime if you don't tell the truth.

You can find a commissioner at any family court and they will sign your form for free. You can also find them at certain ServiceOntario centres. Other people can also do this, for example, a lawyer, notary public, judge, or paralegal. But they may charge you a fee.

Form 6B proves that your partner got a copy of your documents and knows that they have to respond to them.

More information on serving documents can be found in the Ministry of Attorney General’s A Guide to Family Procedures, Part 6: Serving Documents.

Safety issues

If you fear for your safety or the safety of any friend or family member when serving documents, you can ask the court staff to arrange for your documents to be served.