What happens at a first court date in my family court case?

You have a first court date if your case is at the:

  • Ontario Court of Justice
  • Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice, unless your case also deals with a or

Cases at the Superior Court of Justice don’t have a first court date.

The first court date is called an administrative appearance. Depending on where you live, it may not be in front of a judge or even in a courtroom.

The or judge meets with you and your partner to check that all of your documents are complete and have been properly served.

Then the court clerk or judge sets a date for your first . A case conference is usually the first time you and your partner meet with a judge to talk about your issues.

No first court date

If your case doesn’t have a first court date, you or your partner have to ask the court clerk to schedule a case conference for your case to move forward.

Time limits

Once you start a family law court case, you or your partner must schedule a trial within 365 days. If your case isn’t scheduled for trial in that time, the court clerk will send you and your partner a notice giving you 60 days to either:

  • a consent to a judgment or order, or
  • schedule a case conference or .

If either of you don’t do anything after getting this notice, your case may be dismissed.

Hide this website