Court operations during COVID-19Courts are conducting family proceedings in different ways. These include in person, audioconference or videoconference, or a mix of in person and remote options, depending on the level of court. For more information, see:
About this guide
This step-by-step guide is for people who want to change a family order in the Supreme Court of British Columbia and agree on what the order should say. This includes any parenting orders (for guardianship, parenting time, contact, custody, or access) or orders for child or spousal support (including cancelling or reducing arrears).
When you both agree to the order, it's also called a consent order.
You can use this guide to change a family order if:
- there's an existing order made by the Supreme Court of British Columbia;
- both people named in the order agree to the change; or
- in the case of an order for child support, the change is to an amount permitted by the child support guidelines.
You may not have to go to court
If you and the other person agree on how you want to change your existing familyorder or about cancelling support arrears, then you may not have to go to court. Often both people can agree on what a new order will say, especially for child support. This is partly because the child support guidelines set out quite clearly what amount of support must be paid.
The procedure for changing a family order when you agree is easier, less expensive, and less stressful than preparing for a hearing if you don't agree. It usually doesn't require you go to court. However, consider getting legal advice about your specific situation before committing to a change in a family order.
This guide contains information about the documents you need to collect, the documents and forms you need to prepare, the time periods you have to work with, and what you can expect. Look through this guide and take it one step at a time. You don't have to do it all at once.
If the judge or master has questions about your application, you may be asked to appear in Chambers to answer questions.
What the law says about parenting, support, and property when you separate
For more information, see:
- Contact: Spending time with a child
- Decision-making responsibility and parenting time
- Guardianship: Parenting time and parental responsibilities
- Parenting apart
Get legal help
It's a good idea to get some legal help before you use this guide. If you can't afford a lawyer, you can get legal help in other ways, including:
- Lawyer Referral Service
- free (pro bono) legal clinics
- family duty counsel
- family advice lawyers
- family justice counsellors
Staff at Justice Access Centres in Nanaimo, Surrey, Vancouver, and Victoria can also answer your questions and help you fill out forms.
For information about legal aid, see the Legal Aid BC website.
Get a copy of the order you want to change
- A copy of the order you want to change
It's useful to have a copy of the existing order so you can refer to it when you prepare the new order you're agreeing to.
If you don't have the order, you can get a copy from your lawyer or from the registry of the Supreme Court where the original order was made. If you get it from the registry, you'll have to pay a fee for photocopying.
Prepare the financial documents, if needed
- A Financial Statement (Form F8), or
- An Agreement as to Annual Income (Form F9)
- Your most recent income tax return, or
- An Affidavit (Form F30)
Changing an order for spousal support
If spousal support is an issue in your case, you'll need to prepare a Financial Statement (Form F8).
Changing an order for child support
If you want to change a child support order, you must prove to the court that the new order will be for the amount required by the child support guidelines. There are two ways to do this:
- one or both of you can prepare a Financial Statement (Form F8), or
- the payor can prepare and file an Agreement as to Annual Income (Form F9).
If you both agree about the payor's income, you can file an Agreement as to Annual Income (Form F9). This form is much less complicated than the Financial Statement (Form F8). If you file an Agreement as to Annual Income, you must also file:
- A copy of the payor's most recent personal income tax return, including any attachments.
- A copy of the payor's most recent notice of assessment or reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency.
If you (the payor) don't have a copy of your most recent income tax return and assessments, you can ask the nearest taxation office for copies. You can also get your tax information online on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
If you're still unable to get your tax documents, you can file an Affidavit (Form F30) that explains why the filed documents aren't available. This affidavit is referred to as an affidavit about income. The affidavit also provides evidence to satisfy the court that the amount of income and child support agreed to is reasonable.
For help with the affidavit, see the following:
Prepare the other court documents
- A Requisition for Consent Order or for Order Without Notice (Form F29)
- An Affidavit (Form F30)
- A draft Consent Order (Form F33)
Complete the forms to get a consent order
- The Requisition for Consent Order or for Order Without Notice (Form F29) tells the court what you want and which documents you're providing to support your application.
- The Affidavit (Form F30) says you both agree to the order and explains why the order should be granted.
- The draft Consent Order (Form F33) sets out what the court orders. You fill out all the details, and the judge signs it. The Consent Order you write will become your order, once the judge has signed it.
For information about what to put into the Affidavit, see Checklist of information to include in an affidavit or bring to court or How do you write an affidavit?, and the step-by-step guide Write a Supreme Court affidavit.
Have both parties sign the documents
- Your draft Consent Order (Form F33)
- Your Agreement as to Annual Income (Form F9), if you used this form instead of a Financial Statement (Form F8)
Both of you must sign the Consent Order (Form F33).
Both parties must also sign the Agreement as to Annual Income (Form F9), if you used this form instead of a Financial Statement (Form F8).
Make two copies of each signed form: one for you and one for the other person.
Swear or affirm some of the documents
- Your completed Financial Statement (Form F8), if you completed one
- Any affidavits (Form F30) you completed
Swear or affirm the documents
After you've completed the Financial Statement (Form F8) or any affidavits (Form F30), you must swear or affirm that the information that appears in these documents is true.
- The affidavit in support must be signed and sworn or affirmed by the applicant.
- The affidavit about income must be signed and sworn or affirmed by the person who will be making the payments.
You have to swear or affirm the documents in front of a:
- notary public,
- government agent, or
- clerk at the court registry.
Bring photo identification with you.
Make copies and file the documents
- Two copies of all the documents you've completed and had sworn.
- Requisition for Consent Order or for Order Without Notice (Form F29)
- Sworn or affirmed Affidavit (Form F30)
- Consent Order (Form F33)
- Financial Statement (Form F8)
- Agreement as to Annual Income (Form F9)
- Affidavit (Form F30) about income
- $80 for the filing fee (as of March 18, 2013)
File the documents at the court registry
Take both copies of your documents to the Supreme Court registry where your original order was made. The registry location appears in the top right-hand corner of your order.
If you're changing a child support order that was registered with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), you must send a copy of the Requisition for Consent Order or for Order Without Notice (Form F29) to the FMEP office where the original order was registered.
You can mail or fax it. See the FMEP website for current addresses.
Get the signed consent order from the court registry
After you file the documents, they'll be given to a judge, master, or registrar to review. If the judge, master, or registrar is satisfied that the order is appropriate, they'll sign your consent order and it will be entered into the court records.
If there's concern about whether the order is appropriate, you may be asked for further information or asked to appear in Chambers.
Ask the registry clerk what day you can return to the court registry to find out whether the order you want has been granted. If the order has been granted when you return, pick up a copy for your records. Make a copy of the original order and give one to the other party.
If you changed a child support order that was registered with the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), you must send a copy of the new order to the FMEP office where the original order was registered.
You can mail or fax it. If you mail the order, you'll need to make a second copy for this purpose so that you can keep the other copy for your records. See the FMEP website for current addresses.
You've now gone through all the steps required to change a family order in Supreme Court if you agree. Thank you for using our step-by-step guide.