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

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

Once you have been served with the claimantThe person who starts a court proceeding seeking an order for specific remedy or relief against another person, the respondent. See "action" and "respondent."'s Notice of Family ClaimA legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules to begin a court proceeding, setting out the relief claimed by the claimant and the grounds on which that relief is claimed. See "action," "claim," "claimant," "pleadings" and "relief.", you have a choice:

  • you can do nothing, indicating that you either agree with the claimants' claimThe assertion of a legal right to an order or to a thing; the remedy or relief sought by a party to a court proceeding. or don't object to it,
  • you can defend the claimant's claim — that is, you can oppose it, or
  • you can defend the claimant's claim and make your own claim against the claimant.

If you decide to respond to the claimant's claim, you'll need to fill out and file a Response to Family ClaimA legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules in which the respondent to a court proceeding sets out his or her reply to the claimant's claim and the grounds for his or her reply. See "action," claim," "Notice of Family Claim" and "pleadings.". If you decide to make a claim of your own against the claimant, you'll also need to fill out and file a CounterclaimA legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules in which a respondent sets out a claim for a specific remedy or relief against a claimant. See "Notice of Family Claim" and "Response to Family Claim.". The forms are available online; see the Supreme Court Forms section.

You must file your Response to Family Claim and Counterclaim within 30 days of being served with the Notice of Family Claim. This deadline runs from the date you were served, not the date the Notice of Family Claim was filed in court. You must file your forms at the court registryA 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. where the claimant filed the Notice of Family Claim. The court registry is indicated at the upper right-hand corner of the first page of the Notice of Family Claim.

The forms

Your Response to Family Claim is your replyIn law, an answer or rebuttal to a claim made or a defence raised by the other party to court proceeding or legal dispute. See "action," "claim," "defence" and "rebut." to the claimant's Notice of Family Claim. In this form, you will say which of the facts set out by the claimant you agree with and disagree with, and which of the claimant's claims you agree with and disagree with.

Your Counterclaim is a mirror of the form used by the claimant in the Notice of Family Claim. You must fill out each section of the form and attach all the schedules that relate to the claims you wish to make. While you can use the claimant's Notice of Family Claim as a guide, be careful to include all of the reliefIn law, an order sought by a party to a court proceeding or application, usually as described in his or her pleadings. Where more than one order or type of order is sought, each order sought is called a "head of relief." See "action," "application" and "pleadings." you are seeking and use the actual court form to check that you haven't missed anything, since the claimant may not be asking for all of the same orders that you are.

What happens next?

Once you've filed your Response to Family Claim and, if you want, your Counterclaim, you and the other side must attend at a judicial case conference (JCC) before anything else can happen. In the chapter Resolving Family Law Problems in Court, read the section Case Conferences in a Family Law Matter. It provides more information about JCCs and the exceptions to the requirement that a JCC be held.

If either of you is making a claim for child supportMoney paid by one parent or guardian to another parent or guardian as a contribution to the cost of a child's living expenses., spousal supportMoney 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., or the division of propertySomething which can be owned. See "chattels" and "real property." and debtA sum of money or an obligation owed by one person to another. A "debtor" is a person responsible for paying a debt; a "creditor" is the person to whom the debt is owed., you will also have to complete a Financial StatementA 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 his or her income, expenses, assets and liabilities under oath or affirmation. See "affirm," "oath," and "perjury.". Your Financial Statement will be due before the JCC.

More information

You can find more information about replying to a family law actionA court proceeding in which one party sues another for a specific remedy or relief, also called a "lawsuit" or a "case." An action for divorce, for example, is a court proceeding in which the claimant sues the respondent for the relief of a divorce order. in Supreme Court in the chapter Resolving Family Law Problems in Court within the section Replying to a Court Proceeding in a Family Matter.


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