For a better understanding of Interim orders, see courttips.ca and Family Law in BC’s guides on How to get an Interim order.
Other Resources: Supreme Court Applications Guidebook, JP Boyd and Dial-a-Law.
Interim applications are for short term orders that will be in effect until a final order is made at your trial or by consent. These applications are not mandatory but you might find yourself needing to make one (e.g. to protect property, or to get information if your former spouse refuses to share it).
You may have noticed that in both the Provincial and Supreme Court flowcharts above, interim orders are available throughout the process. Usually you bring an interim application after a response has been filed and you’ve attended a Judicial Case Conference (JCC). However, for urgent problems (when there is an immediate need for a protection order), you can bring an application before going to a JCC.
An interim application allows you to go before a judge or master in chambers, to present your case for an interim order. Chambers is a court room interim applications are heard in.
Interim Orders are designed to give a temporary fix (often it’s for the time between the application and the trial). In many cases, your trial date will be more than a year away. This is a long time to wait for an order. In the meantime, you might need to, for example, pay for child care, make decisions about where your children will live, or who will pay for utilities on the family home. If you can’t come to an agreement on your own, you might need an interim order from the courts to give temporary relief or guidance until your case can be heard fully at trial. Also getting before a judge quickly is important when you are facing urgent matters, such as protecting property or safety concerns.
Here are some examples of matters that are dealt with in interim orders:
Here’s the flow chart for interim applications. The first steps are to file and serve your application and response along with affidavits you are relying on. Because you usually don’t have witnesses at interim hearings you use affidavits to support your claims. For interim applications in Supreme Court you will need to file an application record, which is basically a binder of your documents. You will then attend a hearing in chambers which may or may not result in an order. Let’s take a closer look at each step.
1. A File a Notice of Application or Notice of Motion and an Affidavit and serve them on your former spouse.
A Notice of Application, (Form F31), is for Supreme Court applications, and Notice of Motions, (Form 16), is for provincial court applications. File a notice in the court your case is being dealt in.
The Notice should:
Learn how to write an affidavit in Chapter 8.
Respond to Application Response with an affidavit
If the Respondent has filed an Application Response, you may respond to it by filing an affidavit. But keep in mind you can only address the issues in the Application Response.
1.B File an Application Response and Affidavit
File an Application Response and affidavit if you disagree with order sought (within 5 business days of being served).
The Application Response should explain:
You must wait 8 days after serving before you’re allowed before a judge (unless it’s an urgent matter)
2. Supreme Court Applications: Prepare an Application Record and submit to the court
An Application Record is a binder you file with the courts before your hearing.
Your application record must contain:
You must file the Application Record in court, with an extra copy of the Notice of Application. Deliver a copy of the Application Record index on the Respondent by 4:00pm on the business day that is one full business day before the hearing.
To learn about how to prepare an Application Record, see resources.
3. Attend a Hearing
Attending a hearing, also called chambers, is like a mini trial. There are usually no witnesses, but evidence is introduced through documents and affidavits. It usually only deals with one matter and takes less than a day. There will probably be other cases the judge needs to deal with before and after your hearing. You will need to wait for your turn to be called before you can present your case.
You will need to:
The Applicant should tell the judge:
The Respondent should tell the judge:
We will discuss how to prepare for, and what to do, at a hearing in Chapter 10.
You may want the judge that hears your interim order to be the judge that hears your trial. This can be done by seizing a judge. This may be useful when you have a very complex case and it is difficult and time consuming to explain your situation to a new judge.
Treat your interim hearing as a mini trial. To prepare for your hearing, it’s important to read the next chapter on Preparing for Court.
For a better understanding of Interim orders, watch The Justice Education Society’s instructional videos on presenting a case in chambers on the Supreme Court website.