Step 5 – First Court Appearance

Family Motions Court

Your first court appearance will most likely be in Family Motions Court, which is held on Tuesday mornings in Winnipeg. Other courts may also have set days when family motions are heard.
“Be patient – the process takes a long time.”

On the day of Family Motions Court:

  • Arrive at the courthouse about 15 minutes early.
  • Check the notice board for the list of Family Motions. In Winnipeg, it is on the Main and 2nd floor, Old Law Courts Building. The numbered list includes the parties’ names and court file number (see top right-hand corner of your documents).
  • Write down the number that your case has been given on the list.
  • Go to the courtroom.

    Family Motions Court is presided over by a court official (ex: in Winnipeg it is the Family Motions coordinator and in Brandon, it is the master). When you go to the courtroom speak to the court official who you may ask to:

  • adjourn the matter
  • set a Case Conference date (if a Winnipeg matter is contested)
  • set a hearing date, or
  • refer the matter to master or stand-by judge

For example:

  • If you have not been able to serve all of the parties, you may want to ask for an adjournment to another docket date to allow time for service. Remember to insert the new docket date on the Notice of Application before you serve it.
  • If the other party has been properly served but is not present, or if the other party is present, but consents to your application, you may want to ask for time to go before a judge to request that your order be granted.

    If the matter is in Winnipeg and it is contested, you may want to ask for a case conference date. You would complete a requisition form (see Step 7 - Case Conference). In contested Winnipeg matters, you must go to Case Conference before the matter can be decided by a judge. If the matter is not contested, and the parents agree, then the judge can make a consent order.

General notes about court

  • No food or beverages are allowed in the courtroom.
  • Hats are removed in court.
  • No cameras or recording equipment are allowed without previous permission from the court.
  • Cell phones and their cameras cannot be used in the courtroom.
  • At the Law Courts (408 York Avenue in Winnipeg), security measures include a metal detector and a bag search by an X-ray machine. Other courthouses may also have security measures.
  • All must stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom.
  • In Court of Queen’s Bench, the judge is addressed as “My Lord” or “My Lady”. In provincial court, the judge is addressed as “Your Honour.”
  • The master is addressed as “Your Honour.”