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Your partner started a family court case

If your partner started a court case against you and you have to respond to court papers that you got from them, you’re called the respondent. Your partner is called the applicant. 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.

Your partner starts the family court process by filing an Application. The Application tells you and the court the issues your partner is asking the court to decide and the orders they want the court to make. You get to respond by filing a Form 10: Answer.

Once your partner starts a case, one of 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.