Divorce: What Happens When the Other Party Doesn’t File An Answer

How To Answer an Application

  • If you are being served with a divorce application (For How to File a Divorce see Here), you always have to take some sort of action to respond to the claims against you.
  • The Courts of Justice Act, Ontario Regulation 114/99, covers the Family Law Rules.

RULE 10 outlines How to answer an application.

  • A person against whom a divorce application is made shall serve an answer on every other party and file it within 30 days after being served with the application. (Rule 10(1))
  • An answer may be submitted through Form 10, 33B, 33B.1 or 33B.2. (Rule 10(1))
  • If an application is served outside Canada or the United States of America, the time for serving and filing an answer is extended to 60 days. (Rule 10(2))
  • A party receiving an application may also make claims against the applicant or another person (an added respondent) in their answer. (Rule 10(3))
  • An answer that includes a claim for custody of or access to a child shall be accompanied by the applicable documents (Rule 10 (4.1))

(a) An affidavit in support of the claim for custody or access; and (Rule 35.1(2))

(b) A report from the Children’s Aid Society and a police records check, only if applicable. (Rule 35.1 (3)(5))

A party may serve and file a reply (Form 10A) in response to a claim made in the answer within 10 days after being served with an answer. (Rule 10 (6))

The Consequences of Not Filing An Answer

  • If the respondent to an application does not serve and file an answer, there are consequences (Rule 10(5))

The following consequences apply unless a court orders otherwise (Rule 1(8.4):

1. The party is not entitled to any further notice of steps in the case, except service of the order as provided by subrule 25 (13): Unless the court orders otherwise, the person who prepared an order shall serve it

(a) On every other party,

(b) On the child’s lawyer if they have appointed one,

(c) On any other person named by the court.

2. The party is not entitled to participate in the case in any way.

3. The court may deal with the case in the party’s absence.

4. A date may be set for an uncontested trial of the case.

To sum, you must not only file an answer to an application but must do so within the prescribed deadlines. If you miss your deadline to serve and file an answer, the court case can go ahead and a judge may make final orders without your input.

For a guide on “Answer” procedures in Family Law Courts, visit the link here.

Tailor Law’s Mississauga divorce lawyers are here to help in this difficult time. We offer a free consultation during which you can sit down with a lawyer and figure out which way forward is right for you and your family. To book your free consultation, call us anytime at 905-366-0202 or through our website here.

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