Divorce Process – Family Law Trials in Ontario

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 lawyer in Ontario beforehand. If you cannot afford legal aid, contact Legal Aid Ontario to see if you are eligible for legal aid.


Preparation for a Family Law 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:
  1.  A table of contents
  2.  A copy of the application submitted to the court
  3. A copy of the Respondent’s answer
  4.  Any reply that you filed with the court
  5. Any agreed statement of facts
  6. Financial statements, certificates of financial disclosure, and net family property statements;
  7. Any assessment reports
  8. Reports from the Office of the Children’s Lawyer
  9. Any temporary orders or final orders about the trial  and
  10. 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.


Family Law Trial Process

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.

(How To Serve The Divorce Papers In Ontario)


Once you’ve filled out the proper divorce papers, you need to serve them to the opposite party- your spouse. In Ontario, there are many rules that govern this process.

The divorce process is a difficult time for everyone involved. You have to decide what will happen with your finances, children and property so it’s important that you guys choose wisely because there are only one of each!


Why Service is required:

Serving someone’s divorce papers is the way of legally notifying them that the divorce process is commencing. It is a necessary part of commencing the proceedings because your spouse is entitled to have notice of your intentions to divorce them, and to have a chance to respond and tell their own side of the story..


How to serve Divorce Papers:

Rule 6 of the Family Law Rules describes how to serve your documents to another party. Documents can be served by either yourself or another person who is at least 18 years of age, or a professional process server.



When to serve Divorce Papers:

Rule 3 of the Family Law Rules explains how to count time. Read it carefully so that you know how to interpret deadlines. Also, be aware that the effective service date for your document will depend on how you serve it.



What Type of Service should you use?

Certain documents, like divorce applications, require special service, but generally cannot be personally served by you unless you fall into one of the exempted groups.



How to serve Divorce Papers via REGULAR SERVICE:

  • 1) You can mail the documents to your spouse’s lawyer, or in the absence of a lawyer, directly to that spouse
  • 2) You can use a courier service to deliver the divorce papers. A courier service is one that delivers documents and packages quickly.
  • 3) A digital platform that allows a party to upload a document, which the opposing party’s lawyer can download and then issue and acknowledge a receipt. If the other party does not have a lawyer, they can also be faxed the documents directly via this platform.
  • 4) Faxing the documents to the spouse or their lawyer (with certain exceptions)
  • 5) Via e-mail to either the spouse directly or their lawyer.

If serving the documents by fax, e-mail or electronic documents, the first page should include:

  • 1) Date and time of service
  • 2) Sender’s name, telephone number, and fax number/e-mail address
  • 3) The name of the person/lawyer to be served
  • 4) The total number of pages served
  • 5) Title or description of the document
  • 6) The name and telephone number of a person to contact in case of technical difficulty in receiving the documents being served



How to serve documents via SPECIAL SERVICE:

  • 1) Leaving a copy with the person who is being served
  • 2) Leaving a copy with the person’s lawyer of record in the case or a lawyer who accepts service in writing on a copy of the document
  • 3) Mailing copy of the document along with Form 6 (Acknowledgement of Service), which the person being served must complete and return via mail.
  • 4) When serving someone, one can send a copy of the document in an envelope to their address and then mail it again for good measure.

If a spouse is avoiding being served a document, they can be served through different methods to catch them off guard.

Tailor Law offers a variety of services that can help with the divorce process. From drafting wills, creating trust agreements or enduring separation without fighting over finances-we’ve got it covered! If you are looking into divorcing your spouse, reach out to one of our family law lawyers in Mississauga for a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

We highly discourage anyone from seeking out legal advice through this article. This article only provides general information and should you require assistance, please contact ourselves to book a free initial consultation.

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