Starting and Responding to a Family Law Case

  • Start your case, complete the forms

    Starting or responding to a family law case for parenting time, decision-making responsibility and child and/or spousal support:


  • Get your application issued by the court

    Once you have completed your forms, you must get them issued by the court. This means that the court staff will sign, date, and put an official seal on them. The court staff will also give you a file number for your court case. They will also give you a date for your First Appearance at the court. You will also be given the Mandatory Information Program (MIP) forms.


  • File your documents

    You must file your completed documents with the court.

    Documents may be filed in different ways:

    • electronically using Family Submissions Online; or
    • in-person at the courthouse.

    You may contact the courthouse for other ways to file your documents.


  • Serving your family law forms

    You must serve your documents on the other party. To do this, you must follow Rule 6 (Service of Documents) of the Family Law Rules.

    Different forms require different methods of service. Check Rule 6 to make sure that you are serving your forms correctly.

    You must serve all your documents to the other party within a certain time. The Ministry of the Attorney General has a guide that can help you with the time periods for serving your documents. It also shows you how to count days: Guide to procedures in family court: Timelines for serving and filing documents |

    The Ministry of the Attorney General prepared a guide that includes information on serving documents on the other party. You may find it here: Guide to procedures in family court: Serving your documents |

    Both parties must file the Affidavit of Service Form 6B with the court. The Affidavit of Service Form tells the court that you successfully served the other party with your documents.


  • CaseLines: document sharing and e-hearings

    The Ontario Court of Justice uses CaseLines for family law cases. CaseLines is a user-friendly, cloud-based document sharing and e-hearing platform for both in-person and virtual family court appearances. Parties will be able to upload, store, review, search, mark-up, share and present court documents virtually.

    CaseLines does not replace the filing of your documents with the court office. Therefore, you must continue to file your documents either through the Justice Services Online Portal, by email or in-person with the court office AND upload your filed documents into CaseLines. This is mandatory. If you do not file your documents with the court and upload them into CaseLines, the court may not have the documents that you will be relying on in court. This may result in your case not proceeding.

    Read more information about CaseLines and how to use it.


    Useful resources

    Justice Services Online Portal

    Information about CaseLines and how to use it, see: CaseLines.

Ontario Court of Justice