How Do I Change Something in My Response to Family Claim or Counterclaim?
Pleadings are the documents that start a court proceeding or reply to a court proceeding. For the person who starts a family law proceeding, the claimant, this is:
- Notice of Family Claim,
and sometimes also:
- Response to Counterclaim.
For the person who is replying to a court proceeding, the respondent, these documents are usually:
- Response to Family Claim
Sometimes a party's pleadings need to be changed, or amended. Usually, a change is required because a fact is wrong, like a date or a name. At other times, a change is required to raise a new defence or to make a new claim.
For example, say a spouse had a job when an action started and then lost it halfway through the case. If that spouse now needs spousal support but didn't make that claim in their Notice of Family Claim, they would need to amend their pleadings to include the new claim.
Pleadings are important because they describe the basic nuts and bolts of a party's claim or defence, and the facts that are said to support the claim or defence. They are the foundation of the court proceeding and the basis upon which each party will prepare for trial. As a result, there are special rules about amending pleadings. These are set out in Rule 8-1 of the Supreme Court Family Rules.
Firstly, you can't just amend your pleadings when you feel like it:
- under Rule 8-1(1)(a), you can make one set of changes, however major or minor, at any time before the Notice of Trial has been filed,
- under Rule 8-1(1)(b), you can make another set of changes with the written consent of the other party, and
- to make changes in any other circumstances, you'll first need to get the court's permission.
Secondly, you must mark all of your amendments. All of the changes are to be underlined to make it obvious exactly what's been changed. When a lot of text has been changed, say the size of a whole paragraph or more, the lines can be made to run up the left and right sides of the amended text instead of under each and every line of text.
Next, the title of the changed document always starts with the word Amended, such as the Amended Notice of Family Claim or the Amended Counterclaim, to distinguish the new, changed document from the original. When an amended document is amended again, the title of the new document begins with the phrase Further Amended, as in the Further Amended Notice of Family Claim.
You'll also need to change add some information to the top of the first page to indicate why you were able to change your pleadings, and when the original document was filed. For example, for a change made before delivery of the Notice of Trial, you would write:
"Amended pursuant to Rule 8-1(1)(a).
Original filed on 25 October 2012."
Finally, you must file the amended documents in the court registry where the action was started. You must then serve the new pleadings on the other side by ordinary service within seven days.
For more information
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Bill Murphy-Dyson, July 4, 2017.|
|JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|