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Get served with your partner's Application

If your partner started a court case against you and you have to respond to court documents that you got from them, you’re called the respondent. Your partner started the case and is called the applicant. You’re both known as the parties in your family court case.

Your partner must follow Rule 6: Service of documents when they give you a copy of their documents to let you know they have started a case against you. This is called serving documents. Once you get your partner’s documents you get a chance to respond and tell your side of the story.

The rule says that the first time your partner gives you copies of their court documents, they have to serve you by special service, but your partner can’t give them to you directly. They have to get a family member or friend over 18 years old to serve you, or they can hire a professional process server.

Your partner’s forms

The court documents you get from your partner depend on what they are asking for. They can include:

Forms you fill out

You will also get a number of blank forms which you need to fill out. These are:

You will also get a notice to attend a Mandatory Information Program (MIP). The Step Go to a Mandatory Information Session gives you more information about the MIP.

You have 30 days to fill out, serve, and file your Form 10: Answer. But, you can ask the court for more time to fill out your Answer by bringing a regular motion. You should speak to the court clerk or duty counsel before the 30 days are over to find out how to do this. The Step How to bring a regular motion explains the process.

If you don’t respond in time, the judge may decide the issues based only on your partner’s documents and evidence.

Even if your partner has started a court case, you can still talk with them at any time and try to reach an agreement to resolve your issues. You can talk to your partner on your own, with the help of someone you both trust, or with the help of a lawyer.

You can also get help from a family law professional. The Step Get help from a family law professional gives you more information on this.

Next step:

Prepare your Answer