Court Procedure: Motions to Change

I need to change my Agreement/Court Order, what do I do?

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When couples separate, any Order they receive or Agreement they have filed with the court regarding custody or support is always based on the parties' situation at that time. One or both of the parties' situations may change significantly, and the Agreement or Order may no longer reflects reality. When this happens, it will be necessary to bring a Motion to Change.

The procedure for Motions to Change is set out in Rule 15 of the Family Law Rules. In this post we will answer some frequently asked questions about this procedure.

Where do I bring my Motion to Change?

Motions to Change are treated as if you are starting a new court proceeding. As such, your documents will need to be filed in the municipality in which either you or your spouse resides. If you are seeking to change custody or child support, the documents will need to be filed in the municipality in which the child resides.

If you and your spouse agree, you may also bring the Motion in a municipality of your choosing; however, you must first obtain the court's permission in that municipality prior to filing your documents.

What documents are required for a Motion to Change?

In order to bring a Motion to Change an Agreement or Final Order, you must fill out Form 15: Motion to Change and Form 15A: Change Information Form and have them issued at the courthouse. If you are seeking to change the amount of child support payable, and are asking for an amount other than what is set out in the Child Support Guidelines, you must also include a Financial Statement (Forms 13 or 13.1).  You can find all the forms online.

My documents have been issued, now what?

According to Rule 15 (7) of the Family Law Rules, after you have received your issued documents back from the courthouse, you must serve them on your former spouse via special service. Special service can be carried out by a number of methods, which can be found in Rule 6 (3) of the Family Law Rules.

After you have served your documents on your former spouse you will need to file them, along with an Affidavit of Service (Form 6B) at the courthouse.

Responding to a Motion to Change

If your former spouse has brought a Motion to Change, there are two ways in which you can respond. if you agree to the change that is being sought, you need only complete and file Form 15C: Consent to Motion to Change. The judge will then read the material filed and sign an Order according to the terms of the Motion.

If you do not agree to the change that is being sought, or want to make a change of your own, you must complete and file Form 15B: Response to Motion to Change. If the matter deals with support, you will also need to complete a Financial Statement (Form 13 or 13.1).

It is important to note that courts will not arbitrarily change a Final Order or Agreement. There is a specific threshold or "test" that must be met when you bring a Motion to Change, which will be dealt with in our next post.