On the Radar from CLEO
CLEO On The Radar
July 2022
What's happening in family courts
COVID-19 saw a shift to virtual court proceedings for many legal problems. With courts and tribunals now hearing more matters in person, people need to know how family law cases are being handled.
  • Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ), which is the only court that deals with child protection
  • Superior Court of Justice (SCJ), which is the only court that deals with divorces and property division
  • Family Court branch of the SCJ, which can hear all cases
Family courts are now hearing family matters:
  • in person in court,
  • virtually, either by video using Zoom or by telephone, or
  • a mix of in person and virtual.
For more detailed information, see:
The courts have prepared guides with more information:
Luke's Place also has a guide about family court during the pandemic.
Information for hearings in court
Information with the time and date of the hearing is usually part of the documents that are filed or served. For example, it might be part of the documents for a motion or conference.
People can confirm the time and date of their hearing online. At least once a day at 8 a.m., the courts post information about the cases that they're dealing with that day and the next.
To find out about their hearing, people need to know the name of the court and where it's located.
It's a good idea to arrive at court at least 30 minutes early for in-person hearings to review COVID-19 health and safety rules and to find the courtroom. People should get there even earlier if duty counsel is available and they'd like to speak with them.
Information for virtual hearings
The court should send an email with the details about a Zoom hearing, including the day and time of the hearing, and how to join.
If the case uses CaseLines, which is a system for uploading and sharing documents, the links for Zoom hearings should also be available in the CaseLines file. There's more information about Caselines on the OCJ website and the SCJ website.
It's a good idea to test the internet connection before the hearing starts and to log on at least 15 minutes early.
Filing forms and documents
Family law documents can be filed:
  • online
  • by email
  • in person
Filing online
Most family law forms and supporting documents can be filed through the Family Submissions Online Portal.
People must name their documents with the following information in this order:
  1. the type of document and form number, as in, Application Form 8 or Case Conference Brief Form 17A
  2. whether they're the "Applicant" or "APP" for short, or "Respondent" or "RESP" for short
  3. their name
  4. the date they signed or created the document using the format DD-MMM-YYYY
For example: Application Form 8 – Applicant – A. Smith – 05-JUL-2021
For more information about filing online, see the OCJ website or the SCJ website.
If the court does not respond within 5 days, people should check with the court to make sure it received the documents and that there were no errors.
Filing by email to the local court
Email filings are generally only allowed for deadlines that are no more than 5 days away.
Include this information in the subject line of the email:
  • the name of the court, for example, OCJ or SCJ
  • the type of matter, for example, family law or child protection
  • the file number, or "new" if there is no file number
  • the type of document, for example, a motion, application, or case conference
Include this information in the body of the email:
  • the file number
  • the title of the proceeding
  • a list of the documents attached
  • the type of request, for example, a motion or case conference date
  • when and how the other party was served
  • the name and contact information of the person sending the email
The same rules apply for naming documents as in the section above about filing online.
Filing in person at the local court
If documents can't be filed online or by email, contact the local courthouse to find out what hours they're open.
CLEO's Guided Pathways
People can use CLEO's Guided Pathways to Family Court Forms to fill out court forms. This free online tool asks questions and puts the answers into the required court forms. Users can then file the completed forms with the court.
Steps to Justice logo
Related resources
Family Proceedings
Superior Court of Justice
Court Addresses
Ministry of the Attorney General
Family Law Rules Forms
Government of Ontario
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