Interjurisdictional Support Orders
(When one person lives outside BC)
British Columbia has reciprocal agreements with all the Canadian provinces and territories, and with several foreign countries. These are known as 'reciprocating jurisdictions’ – see the list below. This means that BC and each of the 'reciprocating jurisdictions' have agreed to recognize the family support (maintenance) orders and agreements made in the other place. An order or written agreement made in one place is 'good' in the other.
- Canada – all of the provinces and territories;
- United States of America – all of 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
The BC law about reciprocity is the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, which is called 'ISO' for short. Each of the reciprocating jurisdictions has similar ISO laws. Using ISO, you can apply for a support order in one of the reciprocating jurisdictions without having to go there. You can also apply to change an existing support order. A person 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 respondent (the person in the reciprocating jurisdiction) goes to court to respond to the application.
There are several forms available for applications using the ISO laws. Not all of the forms are needed for every application. It is important to note, however, that the province of Quebec and some other countries may require additional or alternative forms.
If you are applying to change an order made under Canada's Divorce Act, this application process doesn't apply to you. The Divorce Act is a federal law. It has its own rules about making and changing its orders. All applications must be made to the Supreme Court of the province. You may wish to contact a Family Justice Centre for free information or talk to a lawyer if you want to change your Divorce Act order.