Respond to an application to get an interim family order in Provincial Court

Provincial Court

Introduction

You've been served with a Notice of Motion (Form 16)

If you're served with a Notice of Motion (Form 16), it means the other person in your family law case is asking the court to make an interim or procedural order. 

This step-by-step guide can help you respond to their application for an interim order in the Provincial (Family) Court of BC if you don't agree about what the order should say. Interim orders  can be about:

  • parenting,
  • child support, or
  • spousal support.

You'll receive the Notice of Motion (Form 16) at your address for service at least seven days before the dates set for the hearing. It should describe the orders the applicant is asking for.

Read the Notion of Motion (Form 16) and make a list of all the things the other person wants the court to deal with. Read the affidavit and figure out what you agree or disagree with. Be prepared to tell the court your side of the story.

The Notice of Motion (Form 16) will list the date and time of the hearing. If you don't attend court on that date, the judge can make orders that affect you.

Get legal help

It's a good idea to get some legal help before you begin a guide. If you can't afford a lawyer, there are other ways to get legal help, including:

Review the documents and prepare to respond

You'll need:

  • the Notice of Motion (Form 16) 
  • any supporting affidavits or other documents
  • paper and a pen, or a computer

The Notice of Motion (Form 16) will list the date and time of the hearing. If you don't attend court on that date, the judge can make orders that affect you.

A Notice of Motion (Form 16) is the court document used to apply for an interim order. This includes orders about:

  • guardianship,
  • allocation of parental responsibilities,
  • parenting time,
  • contact with a child,
  • child support,
  • spousal support, and
  • procedural orders (for example, an order to disclose financial information).

Read the documents carefully and figure out what orders the other person is asking for.

  • If you agree with any of the orders, let the other person know ahead of time and you can ask the judge for a consent order.
  • If you disagree with the orders being asked for, prepare your evidence that will tell the judge why you disagree. The judge must make their decisions based on sworn evidence. You can give the court sworn affidavits from you or others, or you can give your evidence in person.

What if I don't respond?

Don't ignore the Notice of Motion (Form 16). If you don't show up for the hearing, the judge may make an order without hearing your side and without your input into the decision.

If you can't attend on the date in the Notice of Motion (Form 16), ask the other person if you can adjourn the hearing to another date. If they don't agree, go to the court registry and tell them you need to adjourn the case to another date.

If you deliberately ignore the other person's Notice of Motion (Form 16), it can be very difficult — and sometimes even impossible — for you to change any order the judge might make without you.

Prepare for and attend the hearing

Prepare for the hearing

The hearing is less formal than a full trial, but follows the same general format and rules. These are described in detail in Preparing to attend a Provincial Court trial. (This information is for people having a full trial in Provincial Court. But the general information about how to prepare and what to expect in the courtroom will apply.)

One big difference between a trial and a hearing on a Notice of Motion is that you can use affidavit evidence t the hearing. Affidavit evidence is written down and sworn to be true in front of a notary or lawyer. See How do you draft an Affidavit?.

Attend the hearing

For a detailed description of what you can expect to see happening at your hearing, see What happens at a Provincial Court family law trial? A hearing will be more informal than a trial, and you can use affidavit evidence.

Get the order

If your case is in Kelowna Provincial Court, see our Child Support page for important information.

At the end of the hearing, the judge either:

  • gives a decision right away, or
  • reserves their decision to a later date.

If the decision isn't made that day:

  • the clerk will give you a date to come back to court and hear the judge give their decision, or
  • the registry will contact you later to give you a date to come and hear the decision.

Sometimes the judge writes a decision that's mailed to you both. Written decisions can be long. Usually the judge will state at the end what orders are being made.

The registry clerk will prepare the order if neither of the parties has a lawyer. This is required by the Provincial (Family) Court Rules.

The order is effective as soon as the judge makes it, unless the judge specifies a different date.

Register the order with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (if you want)

If you receive a child or spousal support order, you may wish to register your order with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP). FMEP is a provincial government service that helps people get the support (maintenance) payments the judge orders.

You must include a certified copy of your order with your enrolment package to speed up the enforcement process. Ask at the Family Court Registry for a certified copy. There may be a fee for certification; call ahead to find out.

For more information, see the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program page on the Attorney General website.

For information about how to contact the FMEP, see the FMEP website.


You've now gone through all the steps required to respond to an application for an interim family order in Provincial Court. Thank you for using our step-by-step guide.