Changes in Family Law: The Mandatory Information Program
Sept 2011-On September 1st, 2011, the Ontario Government started a Mandatory Information Program (MIP) for family law proceedings. With this program, people now have to go to an information session before they will be allowed to go to family court in Ontario.
If you want to start a family law court case, you will now be given a date to go to an information session. You will not be allowed to see a judge until you and the opposing party have gone to a session. This rule applies to cases that deal with:
A restraining order; or
Motions to change a final order (unless it's to change support only)
There are a couple of exceptions to the MIP rule. These are:
Cases that only ask for a divorce;
Cases where all of the issues have been resolved with a signed separation agreement;
Cases where both parties are consenting to an order;
Cases where both parties have already attended a MIP session.
Basically, the rule is that as soon as there is a disagreement on any issue, a MIP session is mandatory.
This program will only apply to court cases that have not started yet, or that started after August 31, 2011. If you are involved in a court case that is already working its way through the system, this program will not apply to you.
If you have not started your case yet, when you go to court to file an application and start your case, you will be given notice of a date when you have to attend the MIP session. Until you go to a session, your case cannot go forward. You will also be given a Respondents Notice to serve on the opposing party that tells them their date for the MIP session. You will not be allowed to go to the same information session as the opposing party.
The information that will be covered in the MIP sessions includes things like:
The options available for resolving your conflict, including options other than to going to court;
The impact that separation has on you and your children;
Court processes and procedures;
Community resources that are available to help you
When you go to your information session, the presenter will sign your Notice form saying that you have completed the session. After the information session, this form has to be filed with the court office. After the forms are filed with the Court, if you decide that a court proceeding is the right option for you, you will be able to move your case forward before a judge.