Child Support from Out of Province
If you want to apply for child or spousal support or to change (vary) an existing support order and the other party lives in a jurisdiction listed below, you can follow the process under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act. The Act streamlines the process by reducing two court hearings to one and speeds up the enforcement of a Canadian support order.
You could also follow the ISO Act process if 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 of Canada.
The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act is not applicable if:
- You both live in PEI;
- One of you lives in Quebec or an area not listed below;
- The application is for support and you have either started a divorce action in PEI or are applying to vary a divorce judgment; or
- You are divorced and there was a support order made in your divorce action.
How do I start an ISO application?
If you live in PEI, the steps for obtaining a support order under the ISO Act are:
- You (the applicant) must complete all required ISO forms which are used to organize your information for the court. If you do not have a lawyer, the Child Support Guidelines Office can assist you in finalizing your forms and providing them to the PEI Reciprocity Enforcement officer. All related forms and instructions are available at Interjurisdictional Support Orders Forms and Guides.
- The Reciprocity Enforcement Officer will forward your sworn application package to the jurisdiction where the other party (“the respondent”) lives.
- A court hearing will take place in the respondent’s jurisdiction. Note: you are not required to attend this hearing. Once a Court Order is issued, the Reciprocity Officer in PEI will send you a copy of the Order.
How long will it take to process an ISO application?
This depends largely on which province/territory/country the other party lives in. From the time the application is completed until an order is made, the ISO process may take from six to 18 months.
What if someone in another jurisdiction brings a support application against me?
If you live in PEI and someone from another jurisdiction brings a support application against you under the ISO Act, the steps will be:
- The Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island will receive support application package from the other party (“the applicant”) 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: You are required by law to attend the court hearing. It is to your benefit to attend 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.
- The ISO forms you will need to complete and submit prior to the hearing date; and
- A list of information (e.g. about your financial situation) that you need to provide 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.
- A PEI judge will hear the matter in court and make an Order (decision).
- A copy of the Order will be provided to you and to the other party.
Do I need a lawyer to start or respond to a support application under the ISO Act?
You are not required to hire a lawyer but you may choose to hire one. If the issue is child support (not spousal support), the Child Support Guidelines Office can assist you to finalize your ISO forms and answer questions you may have about the process. You are encouraged to use one of these options to ensure the forms are filed correctly.
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?
Download court forms for ISO applications at Interjurisdictional Support Orders Forms and Guides.
These forms are also available at the Child Support Guidelines Office and at the Community Legal Information Association.
Do I have to go through the ISO Act process to apply for (or vary) support if the other party lives in different province/territory/country?
There are other ways that you can vary support if you live in PEI and the other party lives in 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 these terms comply with the Child Support Guidelines, you can apply to the court for a Consent Order. There would be no court hearing so neither of you would need to attend court. Once the judge signs the Consent Order, it can be ‘registered’ in the other party’s province/territory/country. Contact the Child Support Guidelines for assistance.
- Agreement - If you and the other party agree, you can enter into a separation agreement. That, too, can be ‘registered’ in both jurisdictions and 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. Find more information at Child-Focused Family Mediation.
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 jurisdiction.
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