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Make a consent order or minutes of settlement

You can bring a motion on consent at any time, even before a case conference.

If you and your partner agree on what you’re asking for in the motion, you have to first make a written agreement. This written document is called a consent or minutes of settlement. In it, you list the orders you agree on.

Next, you can ask the court to put your agreement into a temporary court order, called a consent order. To do this you or your partner fill out:

  • Form 14B: Motion Form, where you list the orders you want the court to make. Attach the consent or minutes of settlement showing what you and your partner agree to.
  • Form 25: Order, where you list the orders you're asking the judge to sign.
  • Stamped envelopes addressed to you and your partner if you want your order mailed to you. Otherwise you can pick it up from the court or have it faxed to you.

You may also need to fill out:

You need to call or go to court to ask the court clerk for a date when the judge will hear your motion. You write this date on your Form 14: Notice of Motion.

Make copies of your completed documents for you and your partner.

You must serve your partner with a copy of the documents at least 6 days before the date of your motion. Serve your documents below explains how to 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 documents if you haven't followed the rules.

After you serve your partner, you must file your documents and Form 6B: Affidavit of Service with the court. This means they’re added to your court file. You must do this at least 4 days before the motion date.

You can file your forms and documents with the court online or in person. File your court forms and documents below explains how to do this.

If you and your partner agree, your partner does not have to file a response.

Within 4 days of your partner being served, the court makes a decision after looking only at your documents. This includes the consent agreement or minutes of settlement that you and your partner agreed on.

Because you and your partner both agree to the order, the court clerk gives your documents to the judge. The judge reviews your documents and signs the order.

The court clerk sends a certified copy of the signed order to you and your partner in the stamped envelopes you provided. They can also fax it to you, or call you to pick it up, if that’s what you prefer.

If the judge has questions for you or your partner, the court clerk will contact you with a court date or provide you with a copy of the judge’s endorsement that sets out any other steps you or your partner have to take. An endorsement is the written directions a judge gives you and your partner that says what you must do or not do.

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 or email - service is effective the day it’s faxed or emailed as long as it’s sent 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.

File your court forms and documents

Rule 1.1 tells you how to file and issue your family law court forms and documents online. You can file your documents online or in person at the court. Depending on your family law issue and the court, you might also be able to file by email. Check the Family Law Rules and the court's orders, Notices and Practice Directions. Or call the court for more information.

Rule 1.2 says before you file your documents, you must remove or black out all financial account numbers and certain personal information, such as:

  • social insurance numbers
  • bank account numbers
  • credit card numbers
  • account numbers for mortgages, lines of credit, and other loans

You must keep the original documents that show this information.

A judge might ask to see it.

File online

You can now file most family law forms and supporting documents online for a family court case in the Ontario Court of Justice or the Superior Court of Justice. But you cannot file forms and documents online:

  • to request an urgent hearing
  • for a court date that's 5 business days or less away
  • to meet a filing deadline that's 5 business days or less away

To file online, your court forms and supporting documents must be filled out, signed, and dated. Some forms and documents may need to be sworn or affirmed. If they do, it means 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.

Your forms and documents must then be scanned and saved as PDF documents.

If your documents are not in English or French, you need a certified translation. This must also be scanned and saved as a PDF. You can find a translator through the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario.

To file your court forms and supporting documents online, go to ontario.ca/familyclaims. You will need a ONe-key ID. To create this key you need an email address and have to set up a username and password.

Make sure you have everything ready before you start filing online. Once you've started, your session ends if you're inactive for 15 minutes. Your information won't be saved. You will need to start over again.

After you submit your court forms and documents online, you cannot view them online later. So it's important to keep a copy of everything for your records.

You must also pay your court fees online. If you can't afford to pay the court fees, you can ask for a fee waiver certificate online so that you don't have to pay most court fees.

See the question ‘How do I file court forms for my family law case online’ on Steps to Justice for more information.

Court response

After you file your forms and documents online, you get an email to confirm that your documents have been submitted, but not yet filed with the court. Don't delete the email. You should also print a copy or take a screenshot for your records.

Within 5 business days you find out if your documents have been accepted or rejected. If your documents are:

  • accepted, you get an email confirming your documents have been filed
  • rejected, you get an email saying your documents haven't been filed, the reasons why they were rejected, and that any fees you paid will be refunded

If your documents are rejected, you can either:

  • correct or fix all the things that led to your documents being rejected and then refile online if the deadline to submit them is more than 5 business days away, or
  • file your documents in-person or, if allowed by the court, by email

If you don't hear from the court within 5 days, check with them to make sure your documents were submitted successfully.

If you have any questions about your specific case, call the family court in your municipality.

File in person

If you're not allowed to, or don't want to file your documents online, you can file them in person at the courthouse. To submit in person, take 3 copies of your court forms and documents to court.

If you're not which court to go to, you can call the family court in your municipality to ask.

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, but you can't be the one to do this
  • 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
  • email 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 (house number, apartment number, street name, city, and province)
  • 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, fax, or email)

This form must be sworn or affirmed. This means the person signing it is promising that the information in it is true. It is against the law to not tell the truth when swearing or affirming an affidavit.

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.

Update your continuing record

Rule 9: Continuing Record tells you what a continuing record is and what documents you put into it

The continuing record has every document you and your partner want the court to look at. It is kept in the court file at the courthouse.

The continuing record has 2 parts:

1. The endorsement volume has all the endorsements and court orders a judge makes in your case.

2. The documents volume has all the documents filed in your case by you and your partner. This includes Applications, Answers, Replies, affidavits of service, financial statements, motions, affidavits, and trial management conference briefs. It does not include the case conference brief or the settlement conference brief.

If you are the applicant, you start the continuing record and keep adding your documents to it. If you don’t have a lawyer, court staff can help you start it and help you add your documents to it

If you are the respondent you add your documents to the continuing record your partner started. If you don’t have a lawyer, court staff can help you add your documents to it.

When you add a document to the continuing record, you also have to update the table of contents by listing each document you’re filing.

Make sure you keep a copy of every document you and your partner fill out. This allows you to keep track of your case yourself. You won’t have to go to the court to ask the court clerk to get your court file if you need to check something.

More information on the continuing record can be found in the Ministry of Attorney General’s A Guide to Family Procedures, Part 5: Filing Documents.