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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 09-27-2009, 10:23 AM
country girl country girl is offline
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Default past answer deadline

Yesterday was the 30th day dealine to answer the custody and support papers I served the ex August 27, 2009. Our divorce was final 1 1/2 years ago.

I served him with everything we had verbally agreed to during the divorce but he has not kept up his end of the agreement so no surprises in the paper work. I documentated what we agreed upon and kept record of payments (with receipts) and a visitation log which was part of the served papers.

No answer or contact from the ex since I served him. Our 1st court date is after Thanksgiving. What do I do now just sit and wait for court? Can he still file his answer until the court date?
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Old 09-27-2009, 01:46 PM
#1StepMom #1StepMom is offline
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Unfortunately, Country Girl, there is nothing that can be done.

Although in the Family Law Rules it states that you can file a motion (14B) to have the court rule in the case without the Respondent's participation, this never happens.

In the Family Law Rules, it specifically states:

SERVING AND FILING ANSWER
10. (1) A person against whom an application is made shall serve an answer (Form 10, 33B, 33B.1 or 33B.2) on every other party and file it within 30 days after being served with the application. O. Reg. 114/99, r. 10 (1); O. Reg. 91/03, s. 2; O. Reg. 519/06, s. 4.

NO ANSWER OR ANSWER STRUCK OUT
(5) If a respondent does not serve and file an answer as this rule requires, or if the answer is struck out by an order,
(a) the respondent is not entitled to any further notice of steps in the case (except as subrule 25 (13) (service of order) provides);
(b) the respondent is not entitled to participate in the case in any way;
(c) the court may deal with the case in the respondent’s absence; and
(d) the clerk may set a date for an uncontested trial. O. Reg. 114/99, r. 10 (5).

Unfortunately, what's written in the rules is not exactly how the family court functions. We tried this route, and it only got us scolded by the judge.

In our case, my husband served his son's mom with an application, and did not hear back from her about it. We waited 2 weeks after the 30-day deadline, and inquired with the court how to proceed. The clerk advised us to file a Form 14B - Motion to proceed. We filed the form a few days before the court date. On the day of court, my stepson's mom's lawyer argued that he had "left a voicemail message" for my husband indicating that he would be serving and filing the Answer on the day of court. Excuse me... but there is a 30-day deadline... not a "whenever I feel like filing" deadline! Even though we never received this supposed voicemail message, the judge took the lawyer's word for it and accepted the Answer that day. This gave us zero time to prepare, and we got slaughtered in court. The same thing happened at the second appearance, and again, we got slaughtered. Personally, I think our family law system is seriously flawed and that there is no way in hell to get a just hearing.

If I were you, I'd file the 14B Motion anyway... at least you can stand up in front of the judge and say "hey, I'm following the Family Law Rules." Whether they care or not, at least you will know you've done everything you can.
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