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You start a family court case

If you’re starting a court case, you’re called the applicant. Your partner is called the respondent. You’re both known as the parties in your family court case.

The family court process follows strict rules. There is a rule about what's needed at every step in a court case. These rules are called the Family Law Rules. Reading them can help you as you fill out court forms and go through the court process.

Rule 8: Starting a case tells you how to start a family law court case.

You start the court process by filing a Form 8: Application. The Application tells your partner and the court the issues you're asking the court to decide and the orders you want the court to make.

Once you start your case, you must schedule a trial within 365 days. If your case is not scheduled for trial in that time, the court clerk will send you and your partner a notice that says you have 60 days to either:

  • file a consent to a judgment or order, or
  • schedule a case conference or settlement conference

If you don’t do anything after getting this notice, your case may be dismissed.