How does one change a child support order in Alberta?

On behalf of Kirk Montoute Dawson LLP posted in Family Law on Saturday, October 4, 2014.

Changing a child support order in Alberta can be a complex process that requires knowledge of the correct forms and statutes to use, as well as careful preparation. Whether you are the payor or recipient of child support, it is a good idea to have a lawyer advise you of your legal rights and obligations. Also, the courts require that parties engage in a Dispute Resolution Hearing (mediation) before bringing an Application or Claim for child support, including any variation in child support.  A lawyer can help in every step of the process, from preparing the Application/Claim and Affidavit, as well as representing you in court or a hearing/mediation before a Dispute Resolution Officer.

Parents who want to change a child support order will need the following:

  • A copy of the order you want changed
  • Proof of your income for the current year (pay stubs, for example)
  • Your Notice of Assessment and tax returns for the past three years

If you are a recipient of child support and want to change the order to include special expenses, then you will need to list the amounts you pay to cover those expenses. Receipts from the payments can be very helpful.

You can read more about special expenses in one of our recent posts.

If you are a payor who has fallen behind on support payments, and you want to reduce your arrears, then you will need to provide the court with your Notice of Assessment and tax return for each year during which you did not pay or overpaid.

Parents seeking to change a child support order that was made somewhere other than Alberta will need to obtain a certified copy of the original Court Order. The court will not accept a photocopy of a certified copy.

In Alberta, three statutes may be used to make child support orders — the Divorce Act, the Family Law Act and the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act. Exactly which forms you will need to change a support order will depend on which statute was used to make the order. You can find more on the statutes here.

Keep in mind, too, that staff at the courthouse will not be able to provide you with legal advice or fill out the forms for you, so it is important to have a lawyer on your side to prepare your case and ensure that the correct steps are taken. 

Related Posts: Understanding home ownership and property rights in a divorce, Travelling without children during a family law dispute, Set boundaries and rules to protect kids from child custody drama, Protecting credit amidst a family law dispute