In the Province of Ontario, parents who commence a court action must attend the Mandatory Information Program (MIP) prior to their first appearance at court.
The MIP is a program required through the Ministry of the Attorney General to help parents involved in the family court system better understand the court process, the effects of separation/divorce on themselves and their children, and alternatives other than court for resolving disputes.
The MIP recognizes that the family court process may be overwhelming. The MIP also recognizes that separation and divorce can be very emotional, and a trying time on adults and children. The information provided is designed to help people cope, and make informed decisions to manage.
Separating/divorcing couples will be assigned separate days on which to attend the MIP. Follow the instructions on your MIP notice to attend at the time and place directed. If you cannot attend as directed, inform the Family Court with the number provided, or advise your lawyer.
The MIP is co-delivered by a Family Law Lawyer and a Family/Parenting Professional. This team will provide a presentation in two parts, both delivered at the one meeting. The first part is for all persons involved in a family court action and the second part is only for those with children who are not adults. If you do not have minor children, you will be able to leave after the first part. The first part takes about 90 minutes, and the second part about 30 minutes.
The total length of the program is 2 hours, although it may run late depending on if people arrive on time to start, and questions that may be taken during the presentation. The MIP is only for the adults directly involved in the family court action. Children are not to attend. There is no childcare available at the MIP.
You will also be provided a package of information at the MIP regarding the court process and community resources to help you through this time. You only have to attend the MIP once. Once you have attended, you will be provided your signed MIP notice which must then be filed with the court to demonstrate you attended. You will be given instruction at the MIP about how to file this document if you do not have a lawyer to do so on your behalf.
Please note, the MIP is not designed to help you with specific questions about your case, but will provide important general information.