An Application is generally the first step in any Family Law proceeding. In an Application, the “applicant spouse” asks the court to grant certain types of relief and explains why he or she is entitled to it. Because an Application is a document that starts a court proceeding, it has to be served on the “responding spouse” personally.
The Answer allows the responding spouse to address the claims put forth in the Application. The responding spouse tells the court if they agree with the claims made in the Application, puts forth their own version of events, and can make claims of their own.
The responding spouse must submit their Answer within 30 days of receiving the Application. If they fail to do this, the applicant spouse can proceed in their court action without further notice to the responding spouse. This means that the applicant spouse can have a trial before a Judge without the presence and/or evidence of the responding spouse. For this reason, it is imperative that you seek legal counsel as soon as you are served with an Application.
Both the applicant spouse and the responding spouse must submit a Financial Statement. This document contains all the financial information of the parties. In order for your lawyer to complete the Financial Statement, you will have to provide them with your financial information, including income, expenses, details of all assets and liabilities, and your three most recent income tax returns and notices of assessment from Revenue Canada.
In some instances the applicant spouse may wish to submit a further document in reply to the respondent spouse’s Answer – the Reply is their opportunity to do so. The Applicant has ten days after being served with the Answer to serve the Reply. The applicant spouse is not allowed to introduce any new claims in the Reply, but can respond to any claims or statements made in the Answer.
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