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What is the Mandatory Information Program in my family law court case?

In most cases, you and your partner have to go to a Mandatory Information Program (MIP) session as the first step in your court case. The MIP gives you information about separation and divorce and the legal process. It is usually held at the courthouse.

There are Family Law Rules that tell you what is needed at every step in a court case. Rule 8.1 Mandatory information program says that you have to go to a MIP within 45 days from when your case was started.

A MIP session is an hour long if you don't have children, and 2 hours long if you have children.

In the first hour a lawyer and a mediator provide basic information on:

  • family law
  • the court process
  • the alternatives to court, such as mediation

In the second hour, they talk about family law that relates to children and how you can help your children cope as you and your partner separate. You also learn about community resources that can help you and your family through this process.

You do not have to go to a MIP session if:

  • You only want a divorce and nothing else.
  • You and your partner agree on what you want the court to order.
  • You've already been to a MIP session.
  • You want to file a separation agreement with the court.
  • You want to bring a motion to change a support order.

There is no cost for the Mandatory Information Program.

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Next Steps: 

1. Check when your MIP is scheduled

The date for your Mandatory Information Program session should be included in your court documents.

If you are the applicant, this date was given to you when you had your Application issued by the court clerk. At that time, you should have been given 2 notices to go to a Mandatory Information Program session, one for you and one for your partner.

If you are the respondent, you should have been given this date in the package of documents you were served with by your partner.

If you don't have a date, contact your local Family Law Information Center located at the courthouse to schedule a date to attend.

Or, if you can't go to the MIP session on the date you've been asked to, you can contact your local Family Law Information Center located at the courthouse and ask for another date.

Sometimes, the court can give you permission to take Legal Aid Ontario's online Family Law Information Program (FLIP) instead of going to an in-person MIP session.

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2. Ask for special arrangements

If you need an interpreter or any special arrangement because of a disability, ask for special arrangements.

You can speak with any staff member at court about what you need. Or you can contact the Accessibility Coordinator at the courthouse where your MIP session will be held.

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3. Ask for a different MIP session if your partner is at the same one

You and your partner each have to go to a MIP session, but not the same one.

If you see your partner at the one you're at, you should ask for one of you to go to a different MIP session.

You can contact your local Family Law Information Center located at the courthouse and ask for another date for one of you.

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4. Go to your MIP session

In the first hour a lawyer and a mediator provide basic information on:

  • family law
  • the court process
  • the alternatives to court, such as mediation

In the second hour, they talk about family law that relates to children and how you can help your children cope as you and your partner separate. You also learn about community resources that can help you and your family through this process.

After you have attended the MIP session, your notice will be signed to confirm your attendance. And, you will get a certificate of completion.

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5. Go to court to update your continuing record

Once you've been to a MIP session or completed the online FLIP, you get a certificate of completion. You must add this certificate to the continuing record, and update the table of contents.

The continuing record is your court file that has all the important documents in your case.

Rule 9: Continuing record says that you must file every document in your case in a continuing recordso the judge can find it easily when it's needed.

You do not need to file your certificate of completion right away after your MIP. But it must be filed at least 2 days before your first case conference.

You must usually complete a MIP session before your court case can move forward.

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Reviewed: 
September, 2015