Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act
The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, RSPEI 1988, c I-4.2 (often called the “ISO Act”) sets up a process for making or changing child support or spousal support orders when one party lives in Prince Edward Island but the other party lives in a different province, territory, or country. The ISO Act benefits families by streamlining the process to obtain or vary support orders, by reducing the two-Court hearing process to a process where only one hearing is held. It also facilitates the speedier enforcement of Canadian support orders.
When can I use the ISO Act?
You can use the ISO Act process if you want to apply for child or spousal support or to change (vary) a support order and:
- The other party lives in a reciprocating province, territory, or country listed at the bottom of this page; and
- You and the other party were never married; or you and the other party were married, but there has never been a divorce action started; or you and the other party were divorced outside Canada.
When will the ISO Act not be available to me?
You cannot use the ISO process if you want to apply for support or to change a support order and:
- You and the other party live in PEI;
- The other party lives in Quebec or in a country that is not on the list of ‘reciprocating jurisdictions’ listed at the bottom of this page
- You want to make a first-time application for support and you have started a divorce action in PEI; or
- You are divorced and there was a support order made in your divorce action.
How do I start an ISO application?
Here are the steps for obtaining a support order under the ISO Act:
- First, you (the “Applicant”) must complete the ISO support application forms. The forms, and detailed instructions for completing the forms, are available on this page. If you do not have a lawyer and are applying for child support, you may contact the Child Support Guidelines Office to ask questions, and/or for assistance in finalizing your forms.
- The Child Support Guidelines Office (if you are applying for child support and do not have a lawyer), or your lawyer, will give your completed forms to PEI’s Reciprocity Enforcement Officer, who will then forward your sworn application package to the other province/territory/country where the other party (“the Respondent”) lives.
- A Court hearing will take place in the other party’s province/territory/country (Note: you do not have to attend or participate in this hearing. For information on participating in the hearing by teleconference or video conference, contact PEI’s Reciprocity Enforcement Officer.
- Once a Court Order is made in the other party’s province/territory/country, the Order will be sent to the Reciprocity Officer in PEI, who will send you a copy of the Order.
How long does an ISO application take?
This depends largely on which province/country/territory the other party lives in. From the time the application is completed until an order is made, the ISO process usually takes between 6 months to 1.5 years.
I live in PEI. What if someone in another province/territory/country wants to bring a support application against me?
If you live in PEI, and someone living in another province/territory/country brings a support application against you under the ISO Act, here is what will happen:
- The Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island will receive the other party’s (“Applicant”) support application package and schedule a Court hearing in PEI.
- You (the “Respondent”) will be personally served with the following documents:
- The other party’s support application;
- A Notice to Appear that states the date and time of the Court hearing (in PEI).
Note: If you are the Respondent in an ISO application, you are required by law to attend the Court hearing. It is to your benefit to attend, in any event, so that you can present your evidence and arguments to the Court. If you do not attend the hearing, the Court may grant a support order in your absence.
- Any ISO forms that you need to complete and give to the Court prior to the Court hearing date; and
- A list of information (e.g. about your financial situation) that you need to give the Court prior to the Court hearing date.
Note: If you do not have a lawyer and you need help to complete the ISO forms for a child support application, you may contact the Child Support Guidelines Office (contact information listed at the bottom of this page).
- At the Court hearing in PEI, the judge will hear the matter and make an Order (decision).
- You will be given a copy of the Order, and a copy of the Order will also be sent to the other party.
Do I need a lawyer if I want to start a support application under the ISO Act, or if someone brings an application under the ISO Act against me?
You are not required to hire a lawyer. However, you may choose to hire a lawyer, or, if you are a resident of PEI and the issue is child support (not spousal support), the Child Support Guidelines Office (contact information listed at the bottom of this page) can assist you to finalize your ISO forms and answer questions you may have about the process. Parties are encouraged to use one of these options to ensure the forms are filed correctly.
There are detailed guides that explain how to complete and file the ISO forms.
If you are the Applicant and you live on PEI, there is no Court hearing in PEI; the Court hearing takes place in the Respondent’s province/territory/country. Applicants are not expected to attend the Court hearing, nor are they expected to hire a lawyer to appear for them at the Court hearing.
If you are a Respondent and you live on PEI, you are required to attend the Court hearing, and you may appear with or without a lawyer.
Does the ISO Act affect the enforcement of my current child support order?
If you have an existing child support order, it will remain in effect until and unless it is varied by a new order. All Canadian support orders are enforceable immediately upon the time they are filed with the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island. Under the ISO Act, orders granted outside of Canada are unenforceable for 30 days after filing to allow the Respondent an opportunity to apply to the Supreme Court of PEI to set aside the registration of the order.
Where can I get ISO forms?
The Court forms for ISO applications are available for free online, through the Child Support Guidelines Office (contact information listed at the bottom of this page), and at the Community Legal Information Association.
Are there other ways of applying for support (or varying support) if the other party lives in different province/territory/country, or do I have to go through the ISO Act process?
Yes, there are other ways that you can try to get support, or vary an existing order, if you live in PEI, and the other party lives in another province/territory/country that is a reciprocating jurisdiction listed at the bottom of this page. These options are:
- Consent Order (child support only) - If both of you agree to terms of child support, and if these terms comply with the Child Support Guidelines Office (contact information listed at the bottom of this page) may be able to assist you to apply to the Court for a Consent Order. There would be no Court hearing, therefore neither party would need to attend Court. Once the judge signs the Consent Order, it can be ‘registered’ in the other party’s province/territory/country.
- Agreement - If you and the other party agree, you can enter into a written agreement. That, too, can be ‘registered’ in both jurisdictions, and, if done properly, will be legal.
- Mediation - Mediation can happen when both people are willing to work together with a mediator to try to come to an agreement. The province of PEI offers free public Mediation Services for separating families to deal with child-related legal matters, including child support. For more information on public Mediation Services, call (902) 368-6928.
Because an ISO application will be decided in the court in the other party’s province/territory/country, this process can only be used where Prince Edward Island has made an agreement with that province/territory/country to accept PEI’s ISO applications.
Prince Edward Island has reciprocal enforcement agreements with the following jurisdictions:
- All of Canada, except Quebec
- All of the United States (including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands)
- Island of Guernsey
- Isle of Man
- United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland*
- Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Northern Territory
- South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria
- Western Australia, Independent State of Papua New Guinea
- New Zealand (including the Cook Islands)
Who can I contact for more information?
Child Support Guidelines Office
Family Law Centre
1 Harbourside Access Road, PE C1A 8C1
Telephone: (902) 368-6220
108 Central Street
Summerside, PE C1N 3L4
Telephone: (902) 888-8188