How Do I Respond to a Family Law Action in the Supreme Court?
Once you have been served with the claimant's Notice of Family Claim, you have a choice:
- you can do nothing, indicating that you either agree with the claimants' claim 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 Claim. If you decide to make a claim of your own against the claimant, you'll also need to fill out and file a Counterclaim. 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 registry 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.
Your Response to Family Claim is your reply 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 relief 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 support, spousal support, or the division of property and debt, you will also have to complete a Financial Statement. Your Financial Statement will be due before the JCC.
You can find more information about replying to a family law action in Supreme Court in the chapter Resolving Family Law Problems in Court within the section Replying to a Court Proceeding in a Family Matter.
|The above was last reviewed for legal accuracy by Thomas Wallwork, September 27, 2014.|
|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.|