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  • Charles Baker

Everything You Need To Know About Family Law In Ontario

Family law is a broad term that encompasses many aspects of the law. Divorce and separation are common family law terms, but family law also covers things like child support, restraining orders, and parenting time.

In this article, we are going to briefly cover what family law is, the kinds of cases that are dealt with by family lawyers, and how each court deals with family law. Keep reading to learn more.

Defining What Family Law Is

Family law covers all of the legal issues that may be dealt with in the family court. It encompasses but is not limited to child support, spousal support, divorce, child protection, restraining orders, adoption, and decision-making with regards to parenting time.

Most cases that are within the legal realms of family law require an application in court before a court date is set. Family law is practiced in three different courts in Ontario, these are the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice.

What Types Of Cases Do Family Lawyers Deal With?

A Newmarket family lawyer may deal with a wide variety of cases, both in court and out of court. The types of cases they handle may include:

How Does Each Court Deal With Family Law Cases?

As previously mentioned, in Ontario, there are three different courts that deal with family law cases. These are the Ontario Court of Justice, the Superior Court of Justice, and the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice.

Below, we have summarized the kinds of cases each court deals with within family law.

Ontario Court Of Justice

The Ontario Court of Justice deals with cases including child protection, adoption, decision-making responsibility (which was formerly known as custody), parenting time, contact with children (which was formerly known as access), child support, and spousal support. It does not have jurisdiction over divorce or property matters that occur due to a family breakdown.

Superior Court Of Justice

This court can deal with everything mentioned above, but usually only deals with child protection in the case of appeals. It also deals with divorce hearings, property division, and common law trust and equity claims.

Family Court Of The Superior Court Of Justice

The Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice deals with all cases that the other two courts can deal with and also has jurisdiction over adoption.

Some Family Law Terms You Should Know

If you are currently in the process of legal matters regarding family law, you may be overwhelmed by the number of legal terms that are associated with it. Below, we have defined some of the key phrases you may hear in a family law legal proceeding.


The financial support that a person is ordered to pay their spouse in the event of a divorce or separation.

Best Interests Of The Child

In the Children’s Law Reform Act, there is a test called the Best Interests of the Child test, which a judge can use to determine the best course of action when deciding parenting time, decision-making responsibility, and guardianship. It takes into account the child’s needs and interests to ensure that the decision is the best decision for their wellbeing.

Parenting Time

Parenting time used to be called ‘access’, but the term name was changed in March 2021. It refers to a parent’s right to visit a child and answer questions on their health, education, and welfare.

Family Law Act

This is a provincial legislation that deals with family property, the matrimonial home, domestic contracts, dependents' claims for damages, and support obligations.

Child Support

This is the amount of money that one parent is required to pay the other for the financial support of their child. It is determined by the Child Support Guidelines and is paid to the parent who lives with the child the most.

What Can I Expect In A Family Law Court?

In most family law cases, the legal proceedings start with an application in court. From here, the respondent is served the application and they have 30 days to answer (60 days are given if the respondent lives outside of Canada).

A first appearance date will be set out in the application and at this point, you will appear before a clerk of the court to ensure that all relevant documents have been filed. You will then move to the case conference stage, which takes place in front of a judge and determines the matters that need to be settled.

If you struggle to come to a settlement, you could end up at trial, though this is relatively uncommon in Ontario. Working with Newmarket lawyers can make this entire process smooth and simple. They will help you to understand each step of the legal process and represent you where necessary.

For Professional Family Lawyers In Newmarket, Call Baker Doodnauth Now.

Are you looking for a Newmarket law firm to help you with your family legal matters? Get in touch with Baker Doodnauth today. We are a team of dedicated lawyers with experience in family law, ready to help with any of your family law needs.

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