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

Introduction

In Ontario, when a party receives a Statement of Claim, it indicates that they are being sued by the plaintiff. The Statement of Claim outlines the nature of the plaintiff’s claim and the relief they are seeking. Within 20 days of receiving the Statement of Claim, the defendant must submit a Statement of Defence, which presents their position on the plaintiff’s claim and may include a counterclaim against the plaintiff. If the defendant fails to file a Statement of Defence within the allotted time, the court may note them as being in default, permitting the plaintiff to proceed with the lawsuit and obtain a default judgment against the defendant.

 

Answer

A statement of defence or an answer is a legal document filed by a defendant in response to a plaintiff’s statement of claim. It presents the defendant’s position on the plaintiff’s claim and can include a counterclaim. Responding with an answer is crucial for the defendant to dispute the plaintiff’s allegations and provide defences or justifications for their actions. The answer establishes the foundation for the court proceedings and informs the court regarding the defendant’s account of the situation. Filing an answer allows the defendant to participate in the legal process and defend themselves against the plaintiff’s allegation. Not filing an answer may lead to severe consequences, which we will discuss later.

 

Consequences of not filing an answer

Failing to file an answer in response to a statement of claim can have serious consequences for defendants in Ontario. These consequences may include a default judgment being granted to the plaintiff, monetary awards, injunctions or other court orders, which can be difficult to set aside or appeal. Defendants need to be aware of these potential repercussions and take steps to respond to the statement of claim within the required period.

 

What is Filing an Answer?

Filing a statement of defence, which is commonly referred to as filing an answer, is a crucial legal process. It is the formal response made by the defendant once they receive the statement of claim from the plaintiff. The defendant files the answer in court to outline their position regarding the plaintiff’s claim. This statement should provide a concise response to each of the allegations raised in the statement of claim, as well as any defences or counterclaims the defendant may have. The answer must be filed within a specific period after the defendant receives the statement of claim. The primary function of the answer is to allow each party’s position to be articulated and evaluated in a court of law. To comply with the legal process, defendants must adhere to the specific timelines to prepare and file their answer.

 

What the Answer Should Contain

The defendant must file the answer, a legal document that responds to the plaintiff’s statement of claim, within a specific time frame, typically 20 days. The answer should address all allegations raised in the statement of claim, either admitting or denying each one. Additionally, it should include any defences or justifications for the defendant’s actions, whether factual or legal. If the defendant has a claim against the plaintiff, they can include it in the answer as a counterclaim. A statement of truth must also be included at the end to formally declare the answer as true. It is crucial for the defendant to submit a well-prepared and comprehensive answer within the allotted time as it can help to mitigate legal issues and may result in a favourable judgement.

 

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

In Ontario, if the opposing party neglects to file an Answer, the legal process unfolds as follows:

  • Noting in Default: If the defendant doesn’t file an Answer within the stipulated time, the plaintiff can ask the court to note the defendant in default. This permits the plaintiff to proceed with the lawsuit without any further input from the defendant.
  • Default Judgment: Following the defendant’s noting in default, the plaintiff may request a default judgment. It is a ruling awarding the plaintiff because the defendant failed to file an Answer. The judgment’s amount may be based on the claim amount mentioned in the statement of claim.
  • Monetary Award or Injunctive Relief: A default judgment may result in a monetary award or injunction being granted to the plaintiff. The defendant must comply with this court order. Depending on the statement of claim, the award may be significant.
  • Difficulty in Setting Aside or Appealing the Judgment: Setting aside or appealing a default judgment can be tough for defendants. They must demonstrate a meritorious defence or a reasonable explanation for not filing an Answer on time. This is challenging to accomplish in most cases.
  •  

In conclusion, neglecting to respond to a lawsuit in Ontario has severe consequences, culminating in a default judgment, monetary award or injunction in favour of the plaintiff. It’s crucial for defendants to file a response within the timeframe provided and obtain legal counsel if they’re unsure about any aspect of the legal proceedings.

 

How to Respond When the Other Party Doesn’t File An Answer

If the other party fails to file an Answer in Ontario, the plaintiff can take the following measures:

  • Request for Default: Firstly, the plaintiff must request the court to consider the defendant in default. This indicates that the defendant hasn’t filed an Answer during the time allotted.
  • Motion for Default Judgment: Once the defendant has been noted in default, the plaintiff can file a motion for a default judgment. Essentially, this is a judgment favouring the plaintiff because the defendant hasn’t filed an Answer. For this, the plaintiff needs to support their claim with evidence and arguments.
  • Service of Materials: Even if the defendant is noted in default, the plaintiff needs to serve the motion documents on the defendant.
  • Timing: Complying with timeliness and procedural requirements in the Rules of Civil Procedure is crucial.

However, bear in mind that a defendant may have valid reasons for not filing an Answer, in which case, setting aside the default judgment would require legal assistance and can be difficult.

To summarize, when a defendant fails to file an Answer in Ontario, the plaintiff can seek a default judgment but must adhere to the specific procedural steps listed in the Rules of Civil Procedure.

 

Conclusion

Defendants in Ontario must take caution of the potential repercussions of failing to file an Answer in response to a statement of claim. By not responding, plaintiffs may be given default judgment, financial compensation, or injunctions. It is vital for defendants to be aware of these ramifications and comply within the specified timeframe. If a plaintiff finds themselves in a situation where the opposite party has failed to file an Answer, it would be helpful for them to seek legal advice to guarantee they take the correct steps in the process.

Filing an Answer is an integral part of the legal process, providing defendants with a chance to challenge the plaintiff’s claim and provide relevant defences or justifications for their actions. Responding to a statement of claim increases the likelihood of advocating the defendant’s position in a court of law.

Overall, comprehending the legal process and the consequences of not filing an Answer is critical for all parties involved in legal issues in Ontario. Seeking legal consultation from a family lawyer or divorce lawyer in Mississauga may be advisable to achieve a favourable outcome.

Recent Posts

Scroll to Top