Completing your court documents accurately, completely and honestly is very important to ensuring that your case moves through the court as quickly as possible.
If you have a lawyer
If you have a lawyer, they will prepare all the documents for your case based on the information you provide to them and what outcomes you have told them you want. It is important to give your lawyer detailed information about your family, the history of abuse, and parenting responsibilities and your family’s financial situation.
The court needs this information to make its decisions. Abusers often lie or misrepresent things in their documents, so your documents need to paint a truthful picture of your family, with enough details to make what you are saying believable to the judge.
You will have an opportunity to review everything your lawyer prepares before they file it with the court. Read carefully to make sure that your lawyer has followed your instructions and that no important information is missing.
Once documents are filed with the court, it is difficult to change them, and if you do, it can cast doubt on the truthfulness of what you are saying.
If you do not have a lawyer
If you do not have a lawyer to prepare your court documents, here are some helpful resources:
- You can get free summary legal advice from the Luke’s Place Virtual Legal Clinic. Our lawyers are experienced and trained on the issues women deal with when they leave an abusive partner. Contact us at: Intake@LukesPlace.ca
- You can find very useful information about required documents and how to complete them in the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Guide to Procedures in Family Court. The Family Law Information Centre (FLIC) at the family court in your community carries copies of this guide.
- Refer to CLEO’s Steps in a Family Law Case.
- Our section on Evidence offers tips on how to present your information.
- We encourage you to work with a women’s legal advocate. Depending on the extent of the legal resources in your region, you may also be able to get assistance from them.
Once your documents are completed they will have to be served to your former partner.