How Do I Respond to a Family Law Action in the Provincial Court?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Once you have been served with the applicant's Application to Obtain an Order, you have 30 days to file a form called a Reply. The Reply is available at the provincial court registry or online (see the Provincial Court Forms section), although a copy may have been delivered with the Application to Obtain an Order.

You must file your Reply at the same court registry the Application to Obtain an Order was filed, and you can tell which registry this is by looking at the box at the upper right-hand corner of the form. There are no fees charged to file your Reply.

You have 30 days to file your Reply from the date you were served, not 30 days from the date the Application to Obtain an Order was filed in court.

When you fill out your Reply, you will be asked to say which parts of the Application to Obtain an Order you agree with and which you disagree with. The form can also be used to make a claim of your own against the applicant. You don't need to file an Application to Obtain an Order of your own.

After you have filed your Reply, the court may schedule a date for you to meet with a family justice counsellor and you may be required to attend a Parenting After Separation course, depending on which registry the application was filed. The registry will take care of scheduling your meeting with the family justice counsellor, but it's up to you to arrange for the Parenting After Separation course.

If the applicant is making a claim for child support or spousal support, you will also have to fill out and file a Financial Statement. If such a claim is being made, you will normally be given a blank Financial Statement at the same time you are served with the Application to Obtain an Order.

For more information[edit]

You can find a lot more information about this in the chapter Resolving Family Law Problems in Court within the section Replying to a Court Proceeding in a Family Matter.


This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Thomas Wallwork, May 9, 2017.


Creativecommonssmall.png 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.

Normally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province. The Supreme Court is a court of inherent jurisdiction and is subject to no limits on the sorts of claims it can hear or on the sorts of orders it can make. Decisions of the Provincial Court are appealed to the Supreme Court; decisions of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal. See "Court of Appeal," "jurisdiction," "Provincial Court" and "Supreme Court of Canada."

A court established and staffed by the provincial government, which includes Small Claims Court, Youth Court and Family Court. The Provincial Court is the lowest level of court in British Columbia and is restricted in the sorts of matters it can deal with. It is, however, the most accessible of the two trial courts and no fees are charged to begin or defend a court proceeding. Small Claims Court, for example, cannot deal with claims larger than $25,000, and Family Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the Divorce Act. See "judge" and "jurisdiction."

A party who brings an application to the court for a specific order or remedy. Usually refers to the party making an interim application, but in the Provincial Court can mean the person who starts a court proceeding. See also "court proceeding," "application respondent" and "interim application."

A legal document required by the Provincial Court Family Rules to start a court proceeding, which sets out the relief sought by the applicant against the person named as respondent. See "action," "applicant," "pleadings," "relief," and "respondent."

A legal document required by the Provincial Court Family Rules to respond to a claim made in an applicant's Application to Obtain an Order. See "applicant," "Application to Obtain an Order," "claim," and "Counterclaim."

A central office, located in each judicial district, at which the court files for each court proceeding in that district are maintained, and at which legal documents can be filed, searched, and reviewed.

A central office, located in each judicial district, at which the court files for each court proceeding in that district are maintained, and at which legal documents can be filed, searched and reviewed; a courthouse.

The assertion of a legal right to an order or to a thing; the remedy or relief sought by a party to a court proceeding.

Money paid by one parent or guardian to another parent or guardian as a contribution toward the cost of a child's living and other expenses.

Money paid by one spouse to another spouse either as a contribution toward the spouse's living expenses or to compensate the spouse for the economic consequences of decisions made by the spouses during their relationship.

A legal document required by the rules of court in which a party to a court proceeding involving child support, spousal support, the division of property or the division of debt must describe their income, expenses, assets and liabilities under oath or affirmation. See "affirm," "oath," and "perjury."

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