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If you and your partner don't agree

A motion without consent means that one of you doesn't agree with the temporary orders the other is asking for.

Usually you can bring a motion only after a case conference.

If you and your partner don't agree, and you're bringing the motion, you’re called the moving party. Your partner is called the responding party.

Here is what each party has to do:

Moving party

As the moving party, you need to fill out:

  • Form 14: Notice of Motion, where you list the orders you want the court to make; or a Form 14B: Motion Form if you're asking for a procedural order such as an extension of time to file your documents.
  • Form 14A: Affidavit, where you tell the court why you're asking for those orders and include your evidence. Your evidence must be sworn or affirmed. This means you promise that the information in the document is true. It is against the law to not tell the truth when swearing or affirming an affidavit.

You may also need to fill out:

You need to call the court or go to the courthouse 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 your documents at least 4 days before the date of the motion. You serve your partner by regular service or special service. 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.

You need to go back to the courthouse once your partner has been served, to file your motion documents, including Form 6B: Affidavit of Service, in the continuing record. Update your continuing record below to learn how to add documents in your court file.

If you need an interpreter or any special arrangement because of a disability, see Ask for a special arrangement below.

Responding party

If your partner started the motion, you have a chance to answer it by filling out:

  • Form 14A: Affidavit, where you tell the court why you agree or don't agree with the orders your partner is asking for and include your evidence. Your evidence must be sworn or affirmed. This means you promise that the information in the document is true. It is against the law to not tell the truth when swearing or affirming an affidavit.

You may also need to fill out:

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

You must serve your partner with a copy of your documents at least 2 days before the date of the motion. You serve your partner by regular service or special service. 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.

You need to go back to the courthouse once your partner has been served, to file your motion documents, including Form 6B: Affidavit of Service, in the Continuing Record. Update your continuing record below to learn how to add documents in your court file.

If you need an interpreter or any special arrangement because of a disability, see Ask for a special arrangement below.

Both parties

You and your partner have to tell the court that you will be at your hearing. Confirm your court date below explains how to do this

When you come to court on that date, the judge will have all the documents you and your partner filed. The judge may have questions for you to help them make a decision. So you need to be prepared to speak in the courtroom.

There are usually no witnesses on a motion. You can only refer to the evidence in your affidavit or other documents you filed with the court. So it's very important to include all the evidence you have in your affidavit.

At the end of the motion, the judge can make a temporary order that lasts for a few weeks or months while you and your partner continue to try to resolve your issues. The judge may make a decision right away. Or, they may "reserve" their decision and make it a later time.

If the judge reserves their decision, it means they need more time to review the evidence and think about the orders you're asking for. You may need to come back to court for the decision or you may be told about the decision in writing.

Your case continues through the family court process after a motion. You must follow any temporary orders until:

  • The judge makes a different decision.
  • You and your partner agree on how to resolve your issues.

The judge may order cost consequences. This means that you may have to pay for some or all of your partner's legal costs.

The judge may ask you for reasons why your partner should pay for some of your costs, or why you should not have to pay for some of your partner's costs.

Ask for a special arrangement

If you or any of your witnesses need an interpreter or any special arrangement because of a disability, you can ask for this at any stage in the court process.

You can speak with any staff member at court about what you need or you can contact the Accessibility Coordinator at the court where your case, motion, or trial is being held. More information on accessibility at Ontario’s courts is available on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s website.

Confirm your court date

You must confirm your court date by 2 p.m., at least 2 days before your scheduled hearing. To do this, you must fill out and file Form 14C: Confirmation. This form tells the court that you’ll be at your hearing, what specific issues will be discussed at it, and what documents the judge should read. You can file the form in person at the courthouse or by fax.

Your partner also has to fill and file this form to confirm they will be at the hearing.

If you do not file your confirmation form in time, the hearing will not be held and you will have to get a new date.

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, 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
  • 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 (personally, at place of residence, by regular mail, courier, or fax)

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.

Serve your documents on the Ministry of Community and Social Services

If your child support or spousal support payments go through a social services agency, such as Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), it means your support is paid or assigned to the agency. The social service agency is called the assignee. Your support payments go directly to OW or ODSP, and they pay you the full amount of social assistance even when support is not paid.

If your child support or spousal support payments go through a social services agency, such as Ontario Works (OW) or the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP), it means your support is paid or assigned to the agency. The social service agency is called the assignee. Your support payments go directly to OW or ODSP, and they pay you the full amount of social assistance even when support is not paid.

If this is your situation, you must include the agency in the court process and in any agreements you make to change your support order.

If you do not serve the agency or get its consent, the agency can ask the court to set aside the new order that you get. The court can also order costs against you. This means that you may have to pay some of the agency’s costs for asking the court to set aside the order.

To find out if your support is assigned, fill out a Confirmation of Assignment form and fax or mail it to the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

Your form is processed within 3 working days, then mailed or faxed back to you. If your support order is assigned, it will tell you which agency has to be served.

You serve your documents on an agency the same way you serve your partner. See Serve your documents to learn how to do this.

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.

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Bring a regular motion