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Court Orders, Changes and Enforcement — Family Law

When a spouse is not obeying a court order or divorce judgment

Your divorce judgment may include court orders dealing with parenting, child support and spousal support.   Both parents must obey these orders.   When one parent does not, the other parent can take action.   Here are two examples:

• When you are scheduled to see your child but your former spouse will not allow it, you can go back to court to ask for help. A judge may set out a very specific schedule for access or grant extra time to make up for the visits you missed. You could also ask the judge to change the parenting arrangements.

• When your spouse is supposed to pay child or spousal support under a court order, but is not paying, enforcement offices will help you collect the money. All provinces and territories have these offices.

To find out how you can get help dealing with these situations, get in touch with your local court or family law information office, the support enforcement program in your province or territory, or a lawyer.

How change a court order

The divorce judgment legally ends your marriage and that cannot be changed.   But sometimes you may need to change other parts of the judgment, such as the parenting arrangements for the child, or child or spousal support.  

You may ask a judge to change an order for custody or access when there has been a significant change in the condition, means, needs or other circumstances of the child and/or yourself or the other parent since the last order was made.   You may ask a judge to change an order for child support if:

• the special expenses of the child change;

• your income or your former spouse’s income changes; and/or

• there are other significant changes in your circumstances or those of your former spouse or the children. In some cases, you may also change a spousal support order.

If you cannot agree, you can go back to court, present your case and ask a judge to make a new order.