Varying Child Support: When and How

How can I request a change to a Final Order or separation agreement concerning child support?

Life happens, children grow and circumstances change. There are a variety of reasons you may wish to request a change in child support. Whether you have a separation agreement or a final court order, the Family Law Rules and your local court office will outline the correct procedure to follow. 

When can I request a change?

The overarching rule for seeking a change in child support is the existence of a ‘material change in circumstance’. Generally, this will require a change in parental income, custody or your child's level of dependency. For instance, if your child is heading off to university, you may wish to request a change in support to address the extraordinary expense of tuition.

The correct procedure will depend on the nature of your case

Deciding which paperwork to serve and file is a common source of confusion. There are many different forms, and which one you will require depends on the nature of your case. The two deciding factors when choosing the correct forms will be whether you are asking for any other modifications to the order at the same time and whether the other parent is consenting to the change(s). In some cases, you will also need to complete an updated financial statement. 

I have a support agreement, but no Final Order. Can I still request a change?

Yes, but first, you must file your agreement with the local court office. This involves completing an affidavit (a sworn statement), which is signed in the presence of a Commissioner. This process informs the court of your agreement and will allow you to enforce or change it, if necessary. You can then follow the standard procedure to request a variation.