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Family Law

 

A Guide to Changing Child Support Orders in Manitoba

 

PART B: Procedure and Rules in Court of Queen's Bench (Family Division)

Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

 

Some court processes are different from one Court of Queen's Bench centre to another. Following are general descriptions of family motions procedures in Winnipeg Centre and Brandon Centre and in courts outside Winnipeg Centre and Brandon Centre. Check with your local court office for the details of the specific processes used in your local Queen's Bench centre.

When you go to court for a hearing, always bring along copies of all the documents you have filed in court and the documents you have been served with.

MOTIONS COURT WINNIPEG CENTRE and BRANDON CENTRE

What do I do when I go to Court?

In the Court of Queen's Bench Winnipeg Centre, the first court date for a Notice of Motion to Vary will be on a Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. unless a special time has been booked with the consent of both parties. Each Tuesday morning, a Family Division Motions court takes place.

In the Court of Queen's Bench Brandon Centre, the first court date for a Notice of Motion to Vary will be on a Monday morning at 9 a.m. Each Monday morning, a Family Division Motions Court takes place.

On the day of your hearing, arrive at the court at least 15 minutes before 9 a.m. When you get there, check the notice board for the list of family motions. All motions scheduled for that morning are found on the same list. This is usually quite a long list. The different files are listed in numeric order, based upon the court file numbers. This is the number found on the upper right-hand corner of your court documents. When you find the listing for your motion, make a note of the number that it has been assigned on the list. If you cannot find your file on the list, go to the courtroom and check the list available there, or speak to the court clerk for help.

Go to the courtroom. When you arrive there, you will see a person seated in the judge's chair at the front of the room. In Winnipeg, this is the family motions coordinator. In Brandon, this is a master of the Court of Queen's Bench.


A master is an officer of the Court of Queen's Bench in Manitoba who has authority to make orders about procedure during a court proceeding and other orders as set out in the Court of Queen's Bench Rules.


You will also see another person seated at a desk in front of the judge's desk. In Winnipeg, this is the court clerk. In Brandon, this is the family motions co-ordinator.

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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What happens in motions court?

If you are ready to go ahead with your motion, get in the line to speak to the family motions co-ordinator and wait your turn.

The family motions co-ordinator checks if the other parent is present or has a lawyer present. If you do not know, the other parent will be paged. If the other parent or his/her lawyer is present, he or she will come up to the desk to speak with you and the family motions co-ordinator.

If you both are ready to go ahead to a contested hearing, the family motions co-ordinator helps you schedule a day and time for the hearing. After you set a date for the contested hearing, nothing further will happen on this day provided that you agree to filing deadlines.


A contested hearing is a hearing that takes place when both parents don't agree to what one or both are asking the court to do. For example, if one parent is asking to increase child support, and the other parent doesn't agree to the increase, a contested hearing will take place and a judge will decide for them.


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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What if my case is in case management?

If you are in case management, the family motions co-ordinator won't let you set a court date. Instead your motion must be adjourned, or postponed until after a case conference has taken place. Go back to Step Eight, Case Management for more information about case conferences.

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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What if I'm not ready to go ahead?

If you or the other parent is not ready to set a date for a hearing, you can ask to adjourn, or postpone the motion to another date. It can be adjourned to another family motions court date and you will have to re-attend court then.

In Winnipeg, if you and the other parent agree to adjourn the motion to a later date, speak to the court clerk, seated at the desk in front of the judge's desk. The court clerk gives you a form to fill out to adjourn the hearing to another date. If you need help with the form, ask the court clerk. When the form is completed, give it back to the court clerk. Make sure you and the other parent note the new court date. Nothing else happens on this day.

In Brandon, if you and the other parent agree to adjourn the motion to a later date, remain seated in the gallery until your case is called. Then make your way to the front of the courtroom and request an adjournment from the master. Make sure you and the other parent note the new court date. Nothing else happens on this day.

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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What if the other parent and I can't agree?

If you and the other parent can't agree about setting a court date, or about adjourning the motion to another day, or setting deadlines for filing affidavits, you both have to go before a judge or master to decide. Get in the line to speak to the family motions co-ordinator and ask to go before a standby judge or master. The standby judge is waiting in another courtroom, to hear and decide disputes like this.

The family motions co-ordinator assigns you to a courtroom and gives you a file requisition form. Note the courtroom you are assigned to. You need this form to get the court file for your hearing.

In Winnipeg, take the file requisition form to the trial and motion co-ordinators counter on the 1st floor of the court office, across the hall from the security desk. Give the file requisition form to the clerk at the counter. The clerk gets the court file for you, and asks you to fill in a receipt form, with your name and address.

Take the court file to the courtroom the family motions co-ordinator assigned. Enter the room quietly as there may be a hearing going on when you come in. When there is a break, or if the judge is not in the room, give the court file to the court clerk seated in front of the judge's desk.

In Brandon, appear in court on the date and at the time set, remain seated in the gallery until your case is called.

Your names will be called out in turn. When your name is called, stand up and move to the table or desk in the front of the courtroom. The other parent or the other parent's lawyer also stands up and moves to the table.

Each parent or lawyer has a chance to speak. Remember that this is not the hearing of the Motion to Vary. This hearing is only to decide if the motion will be scheduled for a hearing, or if it will be adjourned or postponed to another date.

Stand up when you are asked to speak. Tell the judge your name and that you are representing yourself. In the Court of Queen's Bench, address a male judge as "My Lord" and a female judge as "My Lady." Tell the judge in clear and simple words what you and the other parent can't agree about.

Listen to the judge when she or he is talking. Don't interrupt the judge. Listen carefully to what the judge says and make notes for yourself. The judge makes a decision about when your motion will be heard and whether any steps need to be taken before then. Do what the judge says.

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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What if the other parent doesn't show up?

In Winnipeg, wait in the courtroom. When court opens, the master or family motions co-ordinator starts calling out the names of cases not set for hearings or adjourned to another date. Your case should be in this list.

When your name is called, stand up and say who you are. If the other parent isn't in the courtroom and if no one else is there to represent the other parent, then the family motions co-ordinator gives you a file requisition form and sends you to appear before a standby judge. The standby judge is waiting in another courtroom to decide what to do in cases like this one.

The family motions co-ordinator assigns you to a courtroom and gives you a file requisition form. Make note of the courtroom you are assigned.

In Winnipeg, take the file requisition form to the trial and motions co-ordinators counter on the 1st floor of the court office, across the hall from the security desk. Give the file requisition form to the clerk at the counter. The clerk gets the court file for you and asks you to fill in a receipt form with your name and address.

Take the court file to the courtroom the family motions co-ordinator assigned. Enter the room quietly as there may be a hearing going on when you come in. When there is a break, or if the judge is not in the room, give the court file to the court clerk seated in front of the judge's desk.

Your name and the other parent's name will be called out. When your name is called, stand up and move to the table or desk in front of the courtroom. You have a chance to speak to the judge. Remember that this is not the hearing of the Motion to Vary. This hearing is only to decide when your motion will be scheduled for a hearing or if it will be adjourned, or postponed to another date.

In Brandon, the master will ask if there are any matters to go to the standby justice. Make your way to the front of the courtroom and request the master to send your matter to the standby justice. The family motions co-ordinator will give you a file requisition form. Take this form to the courtroom indicated. Enter the room quietly as there may be a hearing going on when you come in. When there is a break, or if the judge is not in the room, give the requisition form to the court clerk seated in front of the judge's desk. The clerk will retrieve the file from the first courtroom you were in. Wait for your name to be called. Your uncontested hearing will be dealt with at this time.

Stand up when you are asked to speak. Tell the judge your name and that you are representing yourself. In the Court of Queen's Bench, address a male judge as "My Lord" and a female judge as "My Lady." Tell the judge in clear and simple words what your motion is about and that the other parent did not show up in court.

Listen to the judge when she or he is talking. Don't interrupt the judge. Listen carefully to what the judge says and make notes for yourself. The judge decides when to schedule your motion and gives you instructions about what to do before then. Do what the judge says. In Brandon, the justice may grant an order at this time.

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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

MOTIONS COURT WINNIPEG and BRANDON

What do I do when I go to court?

On the date and time for the hearing set out in the Notice of Motion to Vary, be at the court at least 15 minutes before the hearing time. This allows you time to find the courtroom that you should be in. Be ready when your hearing is scheduled to begin. To find out where the courtroom is, check the notice board in the court office or ask for help from court staff.

There may be other hearings scheduled for the same time, so wait until your hearing is called. Usually, a court clerk calls out the hearing using only the last names of both parents. If the judge is not in the courtroom when you arrive, tell the court clerk seated at the front of the courtroom your name and you are ready to go ahead with the hearing.

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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What happens in motions court?

When your hearing is called, stand up. Usually, there will be a desk or table near the front of the courtroom with a microphone. Stand behind the desk and microphone and tell the judge your name and the name of the other parent. Tell the judge that you are representing yourself and you are ready to go ahead with the hearing.

In the Court of Queen's Bench, always address a male judge as "My Lord" and a female judge as "My Lady."

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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What if I'm not ready to go ahead with the hearing?

If you need to adjourn or postpone the hearing to a later date, ask the judge to adjourn the hearing and set a new court date. Tell the judge why you need the court date adjourned.

The other parent or the other parent's lawyer also has a chance to tell the judge whether she/he is ready to go ahead with the hearing or whether she/he needs to adjourn the hearing to a later date and why.

The judge makes a decision and tells you whether the hearing will be adjourned or go ahead. If the hearing is adjourned, the judge tells you the new date for the hearing or how to set a new date. Nothing else happens on this day.


A contested hearing is a hearing that takes place when both parents don't agree to what one or both are asking the court to do. For example, if one parent is asking to increase child support, and the other parent doesn't agree to the increase, a contested hearing will take place and a judge will decide for them.



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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What if the hearing goes ahead?

If both you and the other parent are ready to go ahead with the hearing, you can expect the hearing to take place that day or to be scheduled for another day if more time is needed. It may happen at this time, or later in the day, depending on what other cases the judge may need to deal with that day. Skip ahead to Step Thirteen, Representing Yourself in a Contested Hearing.


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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

What if the other parent doesn't show up?

When your hearing is called, stand up. Usually, there will be a desk or table near the front of the courtroom, with a microphone. Stand behind the desk and microphone and tell the judge your name and the name of the other parent. Tell the judge that you are representing yourself. Tell the judge you are ready to go ahead with the hearing and the other parent is not in court.

In the Court of Queen's Bench, always address a male judge as "My Lord" and a female judge as "My Lady."

If the other parent was properly served with the Notice of Motion to Vary, has not appeared, and you filed an Affidavit of Service as proof, expect the hearing to take place. It may happen at this time or later in the day, depending on what other cases the judge may need to deal with that day. Go on to Step Twelve, Representing Yourself in an Uncontested Hearing.

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Step Eleven: Family Motions Court

A Guide to Changing Child Support Orders in Manitoba

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Part A: Child Support Orders in Manitoba
Part B: Procedure and Rules in Court of Queen's Bench (Family Division)
Part C: Preparing Court Documents
Part D: Resources

 

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