Educational Resources

Introduction to Family Court Procedures in Ontario

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Family Law Now After Hours

Hosted this coming week by Family Lawyers Russell Alexander, Stephanie Brooks, Gia Williams & Margie Primero-Pimentel and Law Clerks, Courtney Derick & Michelle Snoek.

Want to learn about family court procedures in Ontario?


We will be live at 5PM on June 25th on Zoom and our YouTube Channel, to provide an introduction on what to expect from family court procedures in Ontario. This series is one of our many commitments to providing our community with valuable resources to support them in navigating family law matters.

Introduction to Family Court Procedures in Ontario

1. Overview of Family Court in Ontario

Family Court in Ontario is a specialized court that deals with family law matters such as divorce, parenting time and decision-making responsibility, access, support, and division of property. It operates under the Family Law Act and the Children’s Law Reform Act. 

2. Jurisdiction and Types of Cases Handled

Family Court in Ontario has jurisdiction over various family law matters, including divorce, parenting time and decision-making responsibility, child and spousal support, property division, and restraining orders. 

3. Initiating a Family Court Case

To initiate a family court case in Ontario, one must file the appropriate forms with the court, such as an Application for Divorce. The process varies depending on the nature of the case.

4. Mandatory Information Programs

In Ontario, parties involved in a family court case are required to attend Mandatory Information Programs (MIPs) to learn about the legal and emotional aspects of separation and divorce, alternative dispute resolution options, and the court process. 

5. Case Management Conferences

Case Management Conferences are scheduled hearings where parties discuss the issues in dispute, exchange documents, and explore settlement options under the guidance of a judge or a case management master. 

6. Disclosure and Exchange of Information

Parties in a family court case are required to disclose relevant financial information and documents to each other. Failure to disclose may result in sanctions by the court. 

7. Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Family Court in Ontario encourages parties to resolve their disputes through mediation and other forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) before proceeding to trial. Mediation can help parties reach mutually acceptable agreements outside of court. 

8. Court Hearings and Trials

If parties cannot reach a settlement through negotiation or mediation, the case may proceed to trial. During a trial, each party presents evidence and arguments to the judge, who makes decisions based on the law and evidence presented. 

9. Orders and Judgments

After hearing the evidence and arguments presented at trial, the judge issues orders and judgments that resolve the issues in dispute, such as custody, access, support, and division of property. 

10. Appeals and Enforcement

Parties dissatisfied with the outcome of their family court case may have the option to appeal the decision to a higher court. Additionally, court orders and judgments can be enforced through various means, such as garnishment of wages or seizure of assets. 

Stay in Touch

Keep learning about the latest issues in Ontario family law! Subscribe to our newsletter, have our latest articles delivered to your inbox, or listen to our Podcast Family Law Now.

Be sure to find out more about the "new normal", by visiting our Covid-19 and Divorce Information Centre.

About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.