If things change in your life, you can apply to change an order any time after it's made. This is also called varying an order.
If you have an order and you'd like to get it changed, first ask yourself if you and your spouse are likely to agree about the changes.
- If you agree, you can apply for a consent order. That means you don't need to go to court. See our step-by-step guides Get a family order in Provincial Court if you both agree or Change a family order in Supreme Court if you both agree for information about applying for a consent order.
- If you don't agree, certain people (for example, mediators and family justice counsellors) can help you both talk about the things you're unhappy about. With help, you and your spouse might come to an agreement. See Who can help you reach an agreement? for ideas about who can help and where to find them.
- If you've tried your best but you still can't agree, you'll have to apply to the court to change the order.
You might not be able to change everything in the order. The court:
- only allows certain changes, and
- has to be sure that the changes are being made for the right reasons.
- If you have a parenting order, the court needs to see that the order would be in the best interests of the child.
- If you have a child support order and you've lost your job, the court would look at ordering a new amount of support for you.
Usually, the court wants to see that there's been a significant change in your life before it decides that you need a different order. See the tables below for more information about the different rules and guidelines on what can be changed.
How do you change an order?
Usually, you need to apply to the court that made the original order. See Change a family order in Supreme Court if you can't both agree or Change a final order or set aside an agreement in Provincial Court if you can't agree for more about this.
If you want to change an interim order, see Can you change an interim order?
How does the court decide to change an order?
If you're trying to change the amount of child or spousal support, check the Federal Child Support Guidelines or the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines first.
This table shows the type of order you may have, and what must have changed in your life before the court may decide to change your order.
|What the order is about||What must have changed in your life|
The court will only consider the change if they decide it's in the best interests of the child. For example:
If your or the other parent's income has changed. For example:
If anything in the other person's life has significantly changed. For example: