How Do I Stop Defending a Family Law Action in the Supreme Court?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

If you are a respondent, you may want to end your defence to a court proceeding. If you have filed a Counterclaim, you may want to stop that claim as well.

This often happens where a settlement has been reached.

To stop defending a court proceeding, you must file a Notice of Withdrawal in Form F40, and deliver a copy of the filed form to everyone else named in the action. This will allow the claimant to proceed as if no Response to Family Claim had ever been filed, and possibly apply for a default judgment.

To stop a claim against a claimant and completely abandon an action, you must file a Notice of Discontinuance in Form F39, and deliver a copy of the filed form to everyone else named in the action.

The forms are available online. See the Supreme Court Forms section.

While there is no fee charged to file a Notice of Discontinuance or Notice of Withdrawal, Rule 11-4(4) says that the claimant may be entitled to claim their court costs of the action up to the date of withdrawal or discontinuance.

For more information[edit]

You can find more information about Supreme Court procedure 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.


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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."

The person against whom a claim has been brought by Notice of Family Claim. See “application” and “Notice of Family Claim."

A reply, a rebuttal, an answer to a court proceeding or an application; a statement as to why a particular claim or application should not succeed.

A legal proceeding in which one party sues another for a specific remedy or relief, also called an "action," a "lawsuit" or a "case." A court proceeding for divorce, for example, is a proceeding in which the claimant sues the respondent for the relief of a divorce order.

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."

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 resolution of one or more issues in a court proceeding or legal dispute with the agreement of the parties to the proceeding or dispute, usually recorded in a written agreement or in an order that all parties agree the court should make. A court proceeding can be settled at any time before the conclusion of trial. See "action," "consent order," "family law agreements" and "offer."

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.

The person who starts a court proceeding seeking an order for specific remedy or relief against another person, the respondent. See "action" and "respondent."

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 judgment obtained by a claimant following the respondent's failure to reply to the claimant's claim within the proper time from service. In the Supreme Court, a respondent who has been properly served with a Notice of Family Claim has 30 days to file a Response to Family Claim. Once those 30 days have elapsed without the response being served on the claimant, the claimant may apply to the court for a judgment in default. This is the basis for divorce orders made under the desk order divorce process. See "desk order divorce" and "Response to Family Claim."

A calculation of the allowable legal expenses of a party to a court proceeding, as determined by the Supreme Court Family Rules. The party who is most successful in a court proceeding is usually awarded their "costs" of the proceeding. See "account, "bill of costs," "certificate of costs," and "lawyer's fees."

The termination of a claim by the claimant or the termination of a counterclaim by a respondent. The discontinuance of a claim indicates the party's intention not to proceed with their claim. See "action" and "Counterclaim."

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