If you have a lawyer
If you have a lawyer, your job is to collect the information/evidence we have described above and give it to your lawyer, who will then prepare draft affidavits. You need to read the drafts very carefully to make sure they are accurate.
Your lawyer can make changes if you think they are necessary. You will then be asked to promise that everything in the affidavits is true. You will need to sign each affidavit to put this promise in writing. Your lawyer will also sign it.
If you do not have a lawyer
If you do not have a lawyer, you may need to prepare your affidavits yourself. In this case, you need to:
- Use a computer or print very neatly. If the judge cannot read your writing or printing, it will be hard for them to understand your story.
- Use clear, simple language when writing your story.
- Give enough details that the judge can understand what has happened, but not so many that they will become impatient, bored or confused while reading your affidavit.
- Find someone who is authorized to commission your signature on your affidavit. Court clerks can do this, as can duty counsel lawyers at family court. The clerks at the family court counter do not charge for commissioning affidavits.
- File your affidavit with the court, and make arrangements to have your affidavit served on your ex-partner. If you have concerns about your safety and the affidavit must be served personally, you can ask the court staff to make arrangements to have it served on your ex-partner.
- If you want other people, such as your doctor or employer, to prepare affidavits for your case, you need to tell them where to find the forms, how to complete them and what to do with them once they are completed.
There are some online resources that will be helpful to you if you are doing this without a lawyer:
- On the Ministry of the Attorney General website:
- See A Guide to Procedures in Family Court, which describes all the steps in a family law case and tells you what to do at each step.
- Before asking for a custody or access order, consult A Self-Help Guide: How-to-Complete Form 35.1, which walks you through the steps involved in completing this form.
- Before asking for a restraining order, see A Self-Help Guide: How to make an application for a restraining order.
On the Ontario Court Services website you can find every family court form you will need for your case. You can download and print the files from the website, then fill in the forms on your own or with the help of your legal advocate.