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Before making important decisions regarding family law, you should consult with a member of our legal team in order to understand your legal rights and obligations.

First Appearance Court

When an Application is filed in the Superior Court of Justice or the Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice, whether a court date is set depends on whether the case is standard track or fast track. Applications that contain a claim for divorce or property are standard track, whereas all other cases are fast track.

In a case that is standard track, the court clerk does not automatically set a court date when the Application is filed. The Applicant generally waits until the Respondent has been served with an Application and until after he or she has filed an Answer before booking the next step (being a case conference). Generally, an Applicant may obtain a case conference date when the Application is filed by serving and filing a Conference Notice (Form 17).

In the Ontario Court of Justice, the first court date or the First Appearance Court (FAC) is always held before a court clerk who, among other duties:

  • 1. Confirms that all of the required documentation has, in fact, been served and filed;
  • 2. If an Answer has been filed, confirms that the case is ready for a hearing, case conference or settlement conference and thereafter schedules it; and,
  • 3. If an Answer has not been filed, sends the case to a judge for a final decision on the matter based on affidavit evidence. Or, on request, the clerk schedules a case conference.