At the Counter

A party who is waiting to have a Form 8 Application and/or other court forms issued will keep checking the overhead monitor until his or her number is reached. When that happens, the monitor will indicate the number of the counter he or she should walk up to (e.g., ‘Counter 4 – Ticket B312’). The party will step up and set all the documents on the counter.

The clerk will examine the documents for several minutes to check things like:

  • the case is being filed in the right municipality (e.g., where the children live if one of the issues in the case involves children)
  • the case is being filed at the right level of court (e.g., if the party is claiming a divorce, it cannot be filed in provincial court)
  • all of the required court forms have been filed (e.g., you can’t file a Form 8 Application without a Form 13.1 Financial Statement (Property and Support Claims) if you are making a claim for property; and, you need a Form 35.1 Affidavit if there is a claim concerning children)
  • all required documents have been attached to the forms (e.g., Notices of Assessment for the last three years attached to the Financial Statement)
  • the forms have been signed or initialed in all required places (e.g. the second last page of the Form 35.1 Affidavit requires initials that people often forget) and that they were signed before a Commissioner of Oaths where necessary

The court clerk is authorized to witness signatures as a Commissioner of Oaths so if the person who should sign the forms (i.e. the party to the case) is standing at the counter, and presents photo identification, the clerk will do the commissioning on the spot at no extra cost.

Next the clerk will put the documents into a paper file folder which becomes the court file for the rest of the case. All documents that are filed during the remainder of the case will go into this file folder. The file folder will have a pre-printed number (the next number in sequence) which becomes the court matter number for the remainder of the case. Many of the procedural steps that happen later in this case are connected with proper management of this file folder: what is allowed to go into it; what the deadline is for putting it there; what to do to move that folder to the place it needs to be, e.g. a judge’s hands, the counter or the archives.

The clerk will then stamp the box on the upper lefthand side of Form 8 Application with a seal, sign it and date it. The person who files the Application then needs to “true it up” which means making a copy suitable for serving on the Respondent. Two copies of the Form 8 Application should be brought to the counter, one to file and one to “true up.” The procedure is to hand print the newly assigned court file number in the “Court File Number” box on the upper right hand side of page one of the Application and to print the clerk’s name and the date halfway down page two in the spaces provided. Sometimes the clerk will make and hand over a photocopy of the first page of the Application showing the court’s stamp but that’s not necessary.

The person starting a case needs to bring a properly filled out Endorsements Volume with a yellow cover and a Documents Volume with a red cover. The party and not the court is responsible for providing the red and yellow covers, the tabs, the fasteners, the Table of Contents and the blank endorsement sheets. You can download the official guide Formal Requirements of the Continuing Record under the Family Law Rules. Now the clerk will ask the person doing the filing to use three-hole punch the forms being filed and insert them into the Documents Volume.

Next the clerk will ask the person to hand print in the Table of Contents the details of the forms that have just been filed. The Table of Contents will look something like this:

Form 8 Application A 6/26/14 6/30/14 V1 T1
Form 13.1 Financial Statement A 6/27/14 6/30/14 V1 T2
Form 35.1 Affidavit A 6/27/14 6/30/14 V1 T3

“V1 T1” means Volume 1, Tab 1 referring to the first tab of the first volume of Documents of the Continuing Record. If the case goes on for a long time and grows to included many documents, the clerk may require the creation of a second volume of Documents. The letter “A” refers to the Applicant and “R” to the Respondent.

Next the clerk will collect the filing fee, if there is one. There is no filing fee in Provincial Court and often no filing fee in the Superior Court of Justice Family Court Branch. But there is always a filing fee in the Superior Court of Justice.

The clerk will issue a Mandatory Information Program Notice for the Applicant and a second MIP Notice for another date for the Respondent. The Applicant needs to serve the Respondent with his or her MIP Notice; the trued-up copy of the Form 8 Application; a photocopy of any filed Financial Statement and Form 35.1 Affidavit plus attachments; blank copies of a Form 10 Answer, a Financial Statement and a Form 35.1 Affidavit for the Respondent to fill out, serve and file; and copies of the Applicant’s last three income tax returns.