4. Follow the timelines

The Family Law Rules have strict timelines for child protection cases.   

Only the court can change or extend the timelines. And it can only do this if it’s in the .

It’s important for you to learn what your deadline is for each step in the court process and follow it. A lawyer can help you with this.

Respond to the protection application

If you don’t agree with what a (CAS) is asking for in their , you usually have 30 days after you get the court papers from CAS to respond.

You do this by giving CAS an Answer and Plan of Care. You must do this even if you don’t have a lawyer.

If you miss this deadline, you can ask the court for more time.

But serious things can happen if you miss this deadline, for example:

  • you might not be told what is happening with your case
  • you might not be able to take part in the court case at all
  • the court may decide your case without you, and even have a trial without you

First court date

Your first court date will be listed on page 1 of the protection application.

It’s important that you go to your first court date. You should go even if you haven’t been able to respond to CAS’ protection application or haven’t been able to find a lawyer.

If CAS takes your child and doesn’t return them, your first court date is always within 5 days of CAS taking your child.

If the 5th day is a weekend or statutory holiday, the case can be heard the next day the court is open.

Most of the time, CAS hasn’t prepared their protection application before taking a child away. Speak to the CAS worker to find out when and where your first court date will take place. 

But if within those 5 days CAS returns your child to you or another person, or reaches an agreement with you, then you do not have to go to court.

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