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Which court do you go to?

Ontario has 3 different courts that deal with family law issues. These are the:

  • Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice
  • Superior Court of Justice
  • Ontario Court of Justice

It's important that you go to the right court. Rule 5: Where a case starts and is to be heard tells you where you should start your family law case.

Because some courts don’t deal with certain family law issues, you have to start your case in a court that:

1. deals with the family law issues that you need to resolve, and

2. is in the municipality where you or your partner lives.

But, if your issues are about child custody or access, you should go to the court in the municipality where your child lives.

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

Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice

This is the only court that hears all types of family law cases.

In places without a Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice, family cases are heard in either the Superior Court of Justice or the Ontario Court of Justice.

Superior Court of Justice

This court hears family law cases that deal with:

  • divorce
  • dividing property
  • matrimonial home
  • child support
  • spousal support
  • custody and access
  • restraining orders
  • appeals on adoption and child protection

Ontario Court of Justice

This court hears family law cases that deal with:

  • child support
  • spousal support
  • custody and access
  • restraining orders
  • enforcing support in a separation agreement
  • adoption
  • child protection

Court fees

The Ontario Court of Justice has no court fees. But, if your case is at the Superior Court of Justice or the Family Branch of the Superior Court of Justice you have to pay court fees. These include:

  • $202 to file an Application
  • $212 to file an Application that includes a divorce
  • $161 to file an Answer
  • $202 to file an Answer that includes a divorce

If you can’t afford to pay the court fees, you can ask the court for a "fee waiver". If you get a waiver, it means you don't have to pay most court fees.The Ontario government’s A Guide to Fee Waiver Requests tells you which court fees can be waived and how to ask for a fee waiver.