You may have heard the term motion being tossed around in legal communities, or even on television, but what is a motion and what are they used for specifically in Family Court?
Motions are actions that are brought before the court, typically in the middle of a proceeding. They are intended to obtain a temporary order, but not to settle the main case itself. The motion can be for procedural orders, such as financial disclosure or the release of certain reports, or for substantive orders such as interim access to children or child support. The Court will decide whether you will be granted the order sought, or whether it will be dismissed. In Ontario, the Family Law Rules Rule 14 outlines how and when to bring a motion.
If both parties agree to exchange certain disclosure, or they agree to a temporary access schedule for example, they can ask the Court to grant the motion in accordance with their agreement. These are orders on consent. The documents required vary depending on whether you are presenting the Consent Order during a court hearing, or filing it at the family counter in writing, but typically a Consent to order, a draft of the order you are seeking approved by both parties, and Minutes of Settlement (the terms of agreement incorporated into the order) will be required.
If the issues are contested, you will need to file a Notice of Motion outlining the orders you are looking for, and a sworn affidavit outlining the facts in support of your motion. Your evidence is attached to the affidavit as Exhibits. If your motion is over an hour long, you will also need to do what is called a Factum. This document summarizes the facts, the law, and how the law applies in your specific case, in order to support the claim you are making. You also must provide copies of the cases you rely on in your factum. The factum assists the judge deciding your motion by outlining all of this important information in one place.
Some family court motions can be brought before the court on an urgent basis while others are less complicated and unopposed. Each motion carries their own set of rules for filing and the court expects the rules to be followed regardless of whether you are a lawyer or self-representing. For more information on motions in family law feel free to contact Court Coach to schedule a one hour consultation.