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Frequently Asked Questions
How does the interjurisdictional support process work?
The person who wants to obtain or change a support order (the claimant or applicant) will need to fill out a set of detailed application forms. The forms will include all the information which would normally be included in a court hearing. The claimant or applicant sends the completed sworn forms package to the designated authority office in the province or territory where they live. This office will then send the forms package to the equivalent office in the jurisdiction where the other person lives. The other person (respondent) will receive a copy of the forms package, be summoned to court in that jurisdiction and be asked to reply to the application. The court in the respondent’s jurisdiction will then consider the application and evidence from both parties and can make an order.
Do I have to go to court?
If you are the claimant or applicant making the application to get or change an order, generally you are not expected to attend the court hearing which will take place in the respondent’s jurisdiction. Your application, which you have sworn or affirmed under oath, represents you in the other court. If you are the respondent served with the application and summons to appear, you will be required to attend the court hearing in the jurisdiction where you live.
How can Interjurisdictional Support Services (IJSS) help me?
IJSS is the designated authority office that receives and sends interjurisdictional applications and orders to and from BC, and reciprocating or designated jurisdictions, under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act and Divorce Act. IJSS can assist people use the interjurisdictional application process, but they cannot provide legal advice.
If you live in BC and make an interjurisdictional application, IJSS checks the application for completeness and forwards it to the jurisdiction where the respondent lives for a court hearing. IJSS can provide information about processes, forms and guides, child support guidelines and obtain status updates, if possible, from other jurisdictions.
If you live in BC and respond to an interjurisdictional application made by a party living in another jurisdiction, IJSS can provide information about your court hearing date and the documents you must provide to the court.
I want to make an application. Which law should I apply under?
This depends on your situation. You can make an application under provincial ISO law if you were never married, or still are, but not requesting a divorce. You can make an application under the Divorce Act if you were divorced in Canada and your ex-spouse lives in Canada. It is very important to choose the most appropriate law for your situation. Use the Introduction and General Information Guide [PDF 230KB], found on the List of Forms and Guides page to help you decide. You may wish to speak to a lawyer for advice.
What forms do I need?
This depends on your situation. If you are the person applying, go to Choose Your Forms on this website and answer the short set of questions to help you select which forms you need to make your application. You can obtain information about which forms you need in the Introduction and General Information Guide. If you are still unsure, contact Interjurisdictional Support Services (IJSS) for assistance.
*Quebec and some countries have special forms or processes, so it is recommended that you contact IJSS to obtain up-to-date information before you begin.
What is a provisional order? Do I need one?
Under the provincial ISO law, a provisional order is an order made in one reciprocating jurisdiction that has no effect until confirmed by a court in another reciprocating jurisdiction. Some places, including Quebec, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, require a provisional order to obtain or a change support order. Upon receiving your application, Interjurisdictional Support Services (IJSS) will contact you to assist with the process to obtain a provisional order if the jurisdiction your application is being sent to requires one. Once a provisional order has been made in BC court, IJSS will forward your application, including the provisional order, to the other jurisdiction.
Can I deal with parenting arrangements for my child(ren) using this process?
No. This process only deals with child and spousal support, not guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact, custody or access.
What does it mean to swear or affirm my application?
Your forms application package is being submitted to the court as evidence and requires an oath or affirmation from you that the information you have provided is true. After you have finished putting together your application, you must take it to a Commissioner of Oaths, lawyer or Notary Public who will witness your signature on the document, and sign and stamp the document. Some reciprocating jurisdictions may have specific rules about how a document is sworn or affirmed; to be safe, getting your application notarized is recommended. You can contact Interjurisdictional Support Services for further information and assistance.
Do I need a lawyer?
This is up to you. If you make or respond to an interjurisdictional application, you may wish to talk to a lawyer for help about your situation. Interjurisdictional Support Services does not provide legal advice.
If I start an interjurisdictional application in BC, how long will the process take?
This can vary as two different jurisdictions are involved. After your application is sent to the jurisdiction where the respondent lives, that jurisdiction will process your application under its administrative procedures and court processes. This can include setting up a court date, notifying the respondent of the application, holding a hearing and preparing any order resulting from the application. This can take a long time if the respondent is difficult to locate, the court requires further information from you and/or the respondent before making an order or if the court is very busy.
Is there a fee for filing an interjurisdictional application in BC?
There is no fee for Interjurisdictional Support Services to receive and process your application. However, if you hire a lawyer to assist you, you will have to pay the lawyer’s fees. You may also have to pay a small fee for having your documents notarized.
Can I use this process if the other person lives in a country that is not a reciprocating jurisdiction?
No. To get an order, or change an existing one, it is best to speak to a lawyer for advice.
What happens after an order is made from my application?
If the court in the other jurisdiction makes an order, Interjurisdictional Support Services (IJSS) will receive copies of the order and will forward a copy to you. Make sure you update IJSS if your contact information changes. If you wish to have your support order enforced by the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), you can find information about how to enrol at www.fmep.ag.gov.bc.ca. If you are already enrolled with FMEP, you should notify them about your new order.