The Reply gives you a chance to comment on any new issues your partner raises. For example, if your partner says that you have a drug problem, and you didn't say anything about this in your Form 8: Application, you can file a Reply that addresses that issue.
You don't have to fill out a Reply. If you don't, it means you don't agree with what your partner has said.
But, if you do fill out a Reply, you can't make any new claims of your own in it. You can't make any new claims after you file and serve your Form 8: Application.
If you need to make a new claim, you have to file an amended Form 8: Application. If your partner has already filed their response, you must get their permission first. If your partner does not give you their permission, you can bring a motion to the court asking for permission. The Step Bring a regular motion gives you more information about how to do this.
If you fill out a Reply, you have to you must serve your partner with a copy of it, and an updated table of contents. Form 10A: Reply and all other documents in a family court case can be served in more ways than serving Form 8: Application.
You serve your partner by regular service or special service. Serve your documents below explains how to do this.
See Count time below to understand how to calculate days or time correctly. This is important because court staff may not accept your documents if you haven't followed the rules.
You need to go back to the courthouse once your partner has been served, to file your documents, including Form 6B: Affidavit of Service, in the Continuing Record. Update your continuing record below explains how to add documents in your court file.
Rule 3: Time tells you how to count time or days.
You must follow court rules that say the day by which you have to:
- serve your partner, or other people or agencies, with your documents
- file your documents with the court
- confirm your court dates
When you serve your documents, counting starts on the day after the “effective” service day. The effective service day depends on how you served the documents. If you served them:
- personally - service is effective the same day
- by mail - service is effective 5 days after the documents are mailed
- by courier - service is effective the day after the courier picks it up
- by fax - service is effective the day it is faxed as long as it is faxed before 4 p.m. on a day when the court is open
- at your partner’s home with anyone who seems to be an adult and then mailed to that address - service is effective 5 days after the documents are mailed
For example, suppose your partner has to get your documents at least 7 days before the date of your motion. If you serve them personally on Monday, the first day you count is Tuesday and the 7th day is the following Monday.
If the last day is a holiday, the time period ends on the next day that is not a holiday.
But if you have less than 7 days to serve or file your documents or to confirm your court date, then Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays when court offices are closed are not counted.
Counting time or days is important because court staff won’t accept your documents if you have not followed the rules.
Rule 6: Service of documents tells you how to serve your partner and any other people or agencies you have to serve.
Documents can be served in 2 ways – by special service or by regular service. The Family Law Rules tell you which way you have to serve your documents at each step in the court process.
You can usually serve your partner yourself, or get a family member or friend who is at least 18 years old or a professional process server to do it for you.
To serve your documents by special service means you, a family member or friend who is at least 18 years old or a professional process server must do one of the following:
- give a copy to your partner directly, but you can't be the one to do this
- leave a copy with your partner’s lawyer
- mail a copy to your partner, but your partner must send back a special form to confirm they received the document
- leave a copy in an envelope addressed to your partner at your partner’s home with any adult living with your partner, and then mail a copy of the documents to that address within one day
Special service is usually used for documents that start the case or documents that could lead to the person being served going to jail.
To serve your documents by regular service means you, a family member or friend who is at least 18 years old or a professional process server, must do one of the following:
- mail a copy to your partner or their lawyer
- courier a copy to your partner or their lawyer
- fax a copy to your partner or their lawyer
- serve a copy by special service
The following documents can only be served by special service:
- an Application
- a motion to change
- a summons to witness
- a notice of contempt motion
- a notice of motion or notice of default hearing where the person to be served faces a possibility of jail
6B: Affidavit of Service
After your documents are served, you, or whoever served the documents, must fill out Form 6B: Affidavit of Service. This can be done at the court counter, with the help of the court clerk.
Form 6B asks for:
- the name of the person who served the documents
- the name of the person or agency that was served
- when the documents were served (day, month, and year)
- where the documents were served (house number, apartment number, street name, city, and province)
- what documents were served (Application, Answer, Reply, notice of motion)
- how the documents were served (personally, at place of residence, by regular mail, courier, or fax)
This form must be sworn or affirmed. This means the person signing it is promising that the information in it is true. It is against the law to not tell the truth when swearing or affirming an affidavit.
Form 6B proves that your partner got a copy of your documents and knows that they have to respond to them.
More information on serving documents can be found in the Ministry of Attorney General’s A Guide to Family Procedures, Part 6: Serving Documents.
If you fear for your safety or the safety of any friend or family member when serving documents, you can ask the court staff to arrange for your documents to be served.
Rule 9: Continuing Record tells you what a continuing record is and what documents you put into it.
The continuing record has every document you and your partner want the court to look at. It is kept in the court file at the courthouse.
The continuing record has 2 parts:
1. The endorsement volume has all the endorsements and court orders a judge makes in your case.
2. The documents volume has all the documents filed in your case by you and your partner. This includes Applications, Answers, Replies, affidavits of service, financial statements, motions, affidavits, and trial management conference briefs. It does not include the case conference brief or the settlement conference brief.
If you are the applicant, you start the continuing record and keep adding your documents to it. If you don’t have a lawyer, court staff can help you start it and help you add your documents to it.
If you are the respondent you add your documents to the continuing record your partner started. If you don’t have a lawyer, court staff can help you add your documents to it.
When you add a document to the continuing record, you also have to update the table of contents by listing each document you’re filing.
Make sure you keep a copy of every document you and your partner fill out. This allows you to keep track of your case yourself. You won’t have to go to the court to ask the court clerk to get your court file if you need to check something. More information on the continuing record can be found in the Ministry of Attorney General’s A Guide to Family Procedures, Part 5: Filing Documents.