Family Law Trials in Ontario
A family law trial is a hearing where the judge makes final decisions on any issues that remain unresolved between the parties. It is highly recommended that you consider carefully whether you need to go to trial in the case where you do. Moreover it would be advisable that you consult with an experienced family law lawyer beforehand. If you cannot afford legal aid, contact Legal Aid Ontario to see if you are eligible for legal aid.
Preparation for a Trial
Rule 23 of the Family Law Rules provides direction on how to prepare for your trial and provide evidence. If you are going to trial and you are the Applicant or the moving party in a motion, you must prepare a trial record and filed with the court at least 30 calendar days before the start of the trial.
This trial record includes numerous documents, including:
- A table of contents
- A copy of the application submitted to the court
- A copy of the Respondent’s answer
- Any reply that you filed with the court
- Any agreed statement of facts
- Financial statements, certificates of financial disclosure, and net family property statements;
- Any assessment reports
- Reports from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer
- Any temporary orders or final orders about the trial and
- Any relevant parts of any transcripts you intend to refer to at trial.
For more information, please refer to the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Guide to Procedures in Family Court.
At the beginning of the Law Trial starts oral opening statements. During which each party introduces the issues they are asking the court to decide. Then the orders they seek and a summary of the evidence they intend to enter during the trial. This provides the trial judge with a road map of the facts, issues and what to expect.
Oral Closing Statement
At first the parties will submit either a written or oral closing statement. Then the applicant presenting why the orders sought should be made by the court based on the evidence that was presented. Right after witnesses may be cross-examined by the opposing party in order to test their credibility and validity. Finally after the questioning of the Applicant’s witnesses, the Respondent will then call their witnesses, and the process will repeat.
Failure of Appearing in the court
The court may order you to pay some or all of the costs of the other party in cases where you fail to appear in court. Having a fair and collaboration will speed up the resolution of conflicts between parties.
Rules 17, 18 and 24 of the Family Law Rules tell you more about costs.
Keep it in mind
On the day of your trial you should aim to arrive early and proceed to look your name of your court file number. Trials can be very technical and complicated in nature, and the process can be difficult to navigate on your own this article only provides general information and should you have any further questions regarding the family law trial process, please contact us to book a free initial consultation 905-366-0202 or through our website here.