Read this page to see what you need if you're writing an affidavit or getting ready to go to court to:
- apply for an interim order
- apply to change, suspend, or terminate an order
- apply to enforce an agreement
- apply to set aside all or part of an agreement
- respond to an application for any of the above things by the other person involved in your case (the law calls them the other party)
Next, use our checklist below to help you gather all your information.
The checklist is split into sections. Depending on why you're writing your affidavit, you might not need to use all the sections in our example. The judge or master might also send you a list of extra things they need to know about.
Print the checklist so you can mark everything off as you find it.
When you apply for a court order, you have to tell the judge your story by using evidence.
You can do this by:
- speaking in court, or
- writing and filing an affidavit where you've written down all your evidence.
In court, the judge can only use the evidence you give them to help them make their decision. They can't use anything else.
In Supreme Court, if you’re applying for or responding to any of the things on the list above, your evidence has to be written as an affidavit that you swear or affirm is true. Write down all the facts you want the judge or master to know about in the affidavit. You and the judge or master can't talk about anything that's not in it.
Your affidavit also needs to say why you should get what you're asking for. Give as much detail as you can.
In Provincial Court, if you’re applying for or responding to any of the things on the list above, you can either:
- speak to the judge when you're in court, or
- write your evidence in an affidavit and swear or affirm that it's all true.
In both courts, the information you need to give the judge depends on your particular case.
If you're responding to an application, look at the applicant's affidavit to see what you agree with. For example, you might agree that the date of your marriage, your children's names, and your children's ages are all right.
On your checklist, write, for example, "I agree with paragraphs #1 – 5, 10, 15."
Then write down:
- the numbers of the paragraphs that have information you don't agree with,
- the information you don't agree with, and
- why you don't agree with it.
Finally, write down any information that you think is important but isn't on the affidavit.
If you're applying to change an existing court order, the court wants to know how things have changed for you or the other person since your original order or agreement was made.
Write as much as you can about this in your affidavit. Use the checklist to help you do this so the court can see clearly what's changed.
The checklist is split into sections. Read through the list and check off which sections apply to you and your case. Ignore the sections that don't apply to you and your case.
For all family applications, write down:
- the age and birthdate of you and your spouse
- the date you moved in together or got married
- the date you separated
- the names and birthdates of your children
- the name of the town you lived in when you were together
- the name of the town you each live in now
- who lives with you and your spouse (for example, your children, a new partner, stepchildren, a roommate)
- the jobs you and your spouse are working in now
How you and your spouse helped each other
If you're applying for or responding to an application for parenting or support orders, give a short description of:
- what each of you did in the house and for the family, and
- how this affected your life.
- I worked while my husband went to school to train for a better-paying job.
- I couldn't take ESL courses because we couldn't afford a babysitter. That meant I couldn't work.
- We agreed that one of us would give up work and stay home full-time when our children were born. The person who was at home did all the household chores.
If you're applying for or responding to an application for parenting orders, write down the information shown in the list that's related to what you're asking for and your situation.
- the ages and full dates of birth (for example, June 20, 2014) for each of the children
- the name of each child's daycare, preschool, or school, and:
- which grade each child is in, and
- anything they’re struggling with or doing well with in school
- the children's extracurricular activities (things they do when they're not in school) or special interests
- any medical problems or special needs the children have
- the cost of each child's education, medical, or other special expenses
If you aren't applying for parenting orders, the only details you need to give about the children are their names, ages, and birthdates.
Write down how you and your spouse shared the care of your children and your home if:
- you're applying for parenting orders, or
- you or your spouse say you can't afford to pay child support.
- How did you share your childcare? (This is extra important if you've recently separated and parenting arrangements are an issue.) For example:
- Did one parent do most of the childcare or did you share it evenly? (Write down what each of you did.)
- Who changed the baby's diapers?
- If the baby wasn't breastfed, who cleaned and warmed up the milk bottles?
- Who got up at night to feed the baby?
- Who went to PAC meetings and parent-teacher conferences?
- Who took the children to the dentist or other appointments or extracurricular activities?
- Who took time off work to take the children to any appointments?
- Who shopped for groceries and prepared the family's meals?
- How did you make major decisions about the child? For example:
- Did one of you make decisions about the child’s education, or did you make these decisions together?
- Did one of you make decisions about the child’s religion and religious practices, or did you make these decisions together?
- Who took the child to doctor's appointments and made medical decisions?
- Who are the children closest to? (Write down why you think they're closer to you or their other parent.)
- How have you shared childcare since you separated? (This is extra important if you separated quite a while ago and you can't agree about how to share your parenting time and parental responsibilities.)
- If parenting responsibilities weren't shared equally, or aren't being shared equally (one person was or is doing most of the work), explain why.
- The steps you've taken (if any) since you separated to keep your children's life stable. For example:
- you moved to a smaller home, but stayed in the same neighbourhood so your children's daycare or school wouldn't change
- you make sure the children have as much time as possible with the other parent
- you keep doing things you used to do as a family, like having dinner on Sunday nights with the children's grandparents, etc.
Parenting time or contact
Describe the following in your application or response to an application for parenting orders if they're relevant to your case:
- if either parent works or works shifts that could affect their ability to spend time with the children
- how much time the children have spent with each parent since you separated (for example, alternate weekends with each parent, weekdays with the applicant)
- any special events/occasions when you or the other parent particularly want the children, especially if you're fighting about this
Extended family includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins who live nearby or in the same house as you. Include the following details if they're relevant to an application for parenting orders:
- the names of any extended family members (include their relationship and where they live) the child has a relationship with
- your relationship to those family members, whether they're from your family or your spouse's family
- how those relationships are being kept up since the separation
- your plans, if any, for how to continue those relationships
For spousal support
Include the following details in your application or response to an application for spousal support:
- A short summary of your education and work history.
- Describe the roles that you and your spouse had in the relationship if you haven't already done that in the parenting section. Include information about how you divided household chores and childcare responsibilities.
- List any absences from the work force during or after you separated, and describe the reasons for them (for example, illness, injury, children, staying home to be a homemaker).
- Describe your current job and income, and list the source and amount of your income for the last three years.
- Write down your reasonable needs and how much more money you would need to meet these needs.
- List anything that keeps you from earning a reasonable living (for example, caring for young children, a physical disability, or a need to upgrade or refresh your skills).
- Write down how long it would take, and what steps you need to take, to be able to earn a reasonable living (for example, give the name of a course you would need to take, the school where you would take it, when it starts and finishes, and how much it would cost).
- Attach documents that prove your statements as exhibits to your affidavit, wherever possible. For example:
- doctor's reports about any disability that stops you from working,
- invoices for upgrading courses, and
- copies of tax returns or pay stubs, if they aren't already in your financial statement, to prove your income.
- Describe the other person's education, work history, current job, and current income.
- Write down any assets that could be used for support (for example, an RRSP in your spouse's name alone).
For child support
Include the following details in your application or response to an application for child support:
- Your current finances (unless you're seeking only basic support, in which case you don't need to include it).
- Your spouse's current income. Attach their pay stub or a copy of an income tax return, if you can. Otherwise, you'll use your spouse's financial statement.
- If you think your spouse's financial statement is inaccurate, write down what you think is wrong and why you think this.
- If you claim special or extraordinary expenses:
- list each expense you're claiming for,
- write the name of the child it's claimed for, and
- provide proof of the expense (for example, attach the invoice from the orthodontist as an exhibit).
- Say whether medical, dental, or extended health care benefits are available through your employer or the other person's employer.
The way that family members interact with each other or behave toward each other is called family dynamics. They can be important if you have a family law issue.
Include the following details in your application or response to an application for a family law protection order or parenting order (if the other person doesn't agree with your application), or if they're relevant to a spousal support application:
- Describe how you and the other person communicate. For example, can you talk calmly about things or do the two of you get tense and argue when you try to talk?
- Is there family violence or abuse? If so, describe it in as much detail as you can. For example, is there physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, controlling behaviour, threats, or intimidation? If so, describe them and write in detail about recent incidents.
- If anyone has been injured by the family violence, describe the injuries and attach any doctor's notes about them.
- Focus on the most recent incidents (as close in time as possible to the court application) and any particularly significant event.
- Get and attach copies of any police reports, charges, and peace bonds you have.
- The level of detail required about violence depends on what you're asking for in court: a family law protection order will require the most detailed evidence.
- Describe any exposure (anything they've seen or heard) your children have had to violence or abuse.
- Describe anything you've done to help children deal with the abuse.
- If you're afraid of your spouse, write down that you're afraid of them and say why you're afraid of them. Give examples of things they say or do or things they've said or done that make you afraid.
- Describe any drug or alcohol abuse by a parent or new partner that affects the children's safety or care.
- Describe any child abuse (for example, physical punishment or neglect by one parent or their new partner).
- If the Ministry of Children and Family Development has been involved with your family, write down how they've been involved.
Include the following in your application or response to an application for parenting orders if they're relevant to your case:
- any religious, spiritual, or cultural values that you or the other person feel are important for your children's upbringing, especially if one of you has very strong feelings about this
- your religious, spiritual, and/or cultural activities before the separation
- any other languages the children know (for example, if the children speak Chinese because they spend time with a parent or grandparent who speaks it)
Include the following details in your application or response to an application for parenting orders if they're relevant to your case:
- affidavits from friends, neighbours, or family members that support your case
- letters of support might be helpful, but affidavits or direct testimony are better (the judge might not take letters seriously)
- copies of calendars or journals that show time requested and/or spent with each parent