Limitation clocks are poised to start ticking again
On Friday March 20, 2020, the Ontario government suspended all limitation periods and litigation procedural timelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in those suspensions were the limitation periods and procedural timelines for family matters found in Ontario’s Family Law Act and Family Law Rules. The suspension was effective March 16, 2020 and, although initially was for 90 days, ultimately, was extended to September 11, 2020. (One exception to this is that, as of June 8, 2020, the suspension no longer applied to deadlines for the enforcement of child support and spoFusal support).
The government has now announced that it will be lifting the suspension of limitation periods and procedural timelines effective September 14, 2020. How does lifting the suspension affect your family law matter?
- If you are involved in a family law proceeding with a procedural timeline that existed as of March 16, 2020, that timeline paused and will now start to run again on September 14, 2020. For example, if you were served with a family court Application and, as of March 16, 2020, had 10 more days within which to serve and file your Answer, those 10 days start to run again on September 14, 2020.
- In family law, parties have 6 years from the date of their separation to start a court proceeding to equalize their property. If, as of March 16, 2020, you had 60 days remaining to start that court proceeding, those 60 days were paused, but now will start to run again on September 14, 2020.
- If you separated between March 16, 2020 and September 13, 2020, the 6 years in which to start that court proceedings starts to run on September 14, 2020.
The government’s suspension of limitation periods and procedural timelines was designed to help ensure that parties involved in legal proceedings or with legal claims would not experience adverse legal consequences if the original time requirements were not met during the period of the suspension Order. As our province reopens, those timelines are scheduled to start to run again. If you have a legal proceeding or potential legal claim, be sure that you are informed of when your procedural timeline or limitation period now expires.
Carnegie Law Office is a boutique family law office with over 20 years’ experience empowering families to make choices for their children, their own lives, and their future.