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Interjurisdictional Support Orders

Child and spousal support (when one person lives outside BC)

Under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act (called “ISO” for short) British Columbia has agreements with all Canadian provinces and territories and several countries to recognize and enforce support orders and agreements made in each other’s place. These places are known as ‘reciprocating jurisdictions’:

  • Canada – all of the provinces and territories;
  • United States of America – all the United States, including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the US Virgin Islands;
  • Pacific Ocean – Australia, Fiji, New Zealand (including the Cook Islands), Papua New Guinea;
  • Europe – Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Slovak Republic, Swiss Confederation, Gibraltar, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland;
  • Caribbean – Barbados and its Dependencies;
  • Africa – South Africa, Zimbabwe; and
  • Asia – Hong Kong, Republic of Singapore

Getting or changing a support order

Getting or changing a child and spousal support order can be challenging if you and the other parent or spouse live in different provinces, territories or countries. The place or reciprocating jurisdiction where each person lives has its own laws regarding family support making these cases interjurisdictional.

Using ISO, you can make an application to get a new support order or change an existing one in a reciprocating jurisdiction where the other person lives without having to go there. A person living in one of the reciprocating jurisdictions can do the same thing. The person making the application does not usually have to go to court – the person in the reciprocating jurisdiction responding to the application goes to court.

On March 1, 2021, Canada’s Divorce Act changed its rules for former spouses who were divorced in Canada and want to apply to get or change a support order. If your ex-spouse lives in another province or territory in Canada, you can now start an application process similar to ISO. Many of the forms you use for the interjurisdictional process under the Divorce Act are the same as ISO.

Speak to a lawyer for advice about which law best applies in your situation.