When couples separate or divorce, they can make an agreement to deal with their parenting, support, and property issues. But things change: children grow up, you or your ex might find a new partner and have other children, or you or your ex might change jobs or move to a different town. This means you might need to change your agreement as well.
You can change all or part of an agreement by making a new one. This means that each part of the previous agreement that you want to change is replaced by the new agreement. The parts you don't want to change stay the same.
Agreements often have a clause (a section or paragraph) about future changes. For example, your agreement might say that any changes have to be:
- made in writing,
- signed by both you and the other person (the agreement will use the word parties), and
If you make changes, you have to follow any requirements (special instructions) set out in the agreement.
If your agreement doesn't have special instructions about making changes, follow these steps to change an agreement:
- Get together with your ex to make the changes, if possible, so that you know you agree.
- Get or create your original agreement in electronic form and save it under the same name but add the word "amended" and then the date.
- At the top, type "This agreement amends the agreement made between [name] and [name] on [date]." Fill in your names and the date.
- In the first part of the agreement (called the recitals) describe what's changed and why you want to change your agreement. Make a note of which paragraphs in the older agreement your new paragraphs will replace (refer to the number and/or title of the paragraph). (For example, type "Sections 2 through 7 of this amending agreement replace sections 3 through 8 of the original agreement.")
- Do that for each change.
- Before the signature line, type "Note that the rest of the original agreement remains effective." This means that you agree that you're not making any other changes.
- You and your ex have to sign and date the agreement in front of a witness.
- The witness has to sign the agreement and print their name and contact information under their signature.
- See below for how to file your agreement.
Do you need to file the new agreement with the court?
If your original agreement was filed with either Provincial or Supreme Court, file your new agreement with the same court.
If your original agreement wasn't filed with the court, you don't have to file your new agreement with it.
But if you want to enforce an agreement or apply to court to set it aside (cancel it), it must have been filed with the court first.
Where can you get help to change an agreement?
If you're not sure about changing an agreement or you’d like some help to do it, see Who can help you reach an agreement?
If you want to make a child support agreement, you can get a free professional mediator to help you and the other parent.
You can learn more about this online service and other dispute resolution services available on MyLawBC.