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 claimant's 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?
If either of you is claiming for child support, spousal support, or division of property and debt, you have to fill out a Form F8 Financial Statement. Once you've filed your Response to Family Claim and, if you want, your Counterclaim, the usual next step is to attend a judicial case conference (JCC). Normally, you can't make an application to the court without having a JCC first. In the chapter Resolving Family Law Problems in Court, the section on Case Conferences in a Family Law Matter provides more information about JCCs. Your Form F8 Financial Statement is due before the JCC is heard.
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.
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Megan Ellis, June 10, 2019.|
|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 family court proceeding. The Family Court of the Provincial Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the Divorce Act. See "judge" and "jurisdiction."
The person who starts a court proceeding seeking an order for a specific remedy or relief against another person, the respondent. See "action" and "respondent."
A 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."
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.
A legal document required by the Supreme Court Family Rules in which the respondent to a court proceeding sets out their reply to the claimant's claim and the grounds for their reply. See "action," claim," "Notice of Family Claim," and "pleadings."
A 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."
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.
In law, an answer or rebuttal to a claim made or a defence raised by the other party to a court proceeding or legal dispute. See "action," "claim," "defence," and "rebut."
In law, an order sought by a party to a court proceeding or application, usually as described in their 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."
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.
A payment made by one spouse, the payor, to the other spouse, the recipient, to help with their day-to-day living expenses or to compensate the recipient for the financial choices the spouses made during the relationship.
Something which can be owned. See "chattels" and "real property."
A 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.
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."
A 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.