Overview

To change your court-ordered support payments, you can apply for:

  • an increase, if you’re the recipient of support
  • a decrease, if you’re the payor of support

Changes in circumstances

The court may consider changing a court order when the circumstances of the payor or recipient have changed significantly since the previous order was made. These circumstances include a change in any of the following:

  • the number of children who are dependent on the parties
  • employment that results in a long-term change in income
  • special or extraordinary Section 7 expenses incurred for the children
  • the travel / access costs for visits between the parties and their children

The judge may also consider the payor’s ability to make the current payments, based on full financial disclosure, or other factors based on legislation the order was made under.

How to apply if you’re not married, common law or the divorce process hasn’t started

Step 1. Gather your documents

Recipient

  • copy of your court order
  • Notice of Assessment – a tax status form – for the past 3 years
  • pay stubs or other proof of income for this tax year
  • list of your special expenses, including receipts if possible

Payor

  • copy of your court order
  • complete tax returns from the past 3 years
  • Notice of Assessment – a tax status form – for the past 3 years, plus any other years that support wasn’t paid
  • pay stubs or other proof of income for this tax year

To cancel or reduce arrears, also gather your:

  • income information from the date that you first fell behind on your payments
  • copy of your Debtor’s Statement of Account (from Maintenance Enforcement Program)
  • list of your assets (with values)
  • list of your debts (with values)

Step 2. Fill out the forms

If both parents live in Alberta

If you’re the recipient of support, fill out these forms:

If you’re the payor of support, fill out these forms:

If the other parent lives outside Alberta

If the other parent lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction, you may change your court order.

If you’re the recipient of support, complete an application for interjurisdictional child support.

Note: You can also consider hiring a lawyer where the other party lives if you wish to apply directly in the other province or country.

If you’re the payor of support, learn how to respond to an Interjurisdictional Support Order (ISO) application.

Step 3. File your claim

Do this at the same court, in the same location, where you’ve either:

  • already been to court with the other party
  • started any court action that hasn’t gone to court

If you haven’t done either of these things, file your claim at any court in Alberta.

If you’re the payor and are applying to reduce your support, the amount of support you have to pay won’t change until the court has made an order.

Note: If you don’t come to court, the judge may make an order in your absence.

How to apply if you’re divorced or divorce has started

Step 1. Gather your documents

Recipient

  • copy of your court order
  • Notice of Assessment – a tax status form – for the past 3 years
  • pay stubs or other proof of income for this tax year
  • list of your special expenses, including receipts if possible

Payor

  • copy of your court order
  • complete tax returns from the past 3 years
  • Notice of Assessment – a tax status form – for the past 3 years, plus any other years that support wasn’t paid
  • pay stubs or other proof of income for this tax year

To cancel or reduce arrears, also gather your:

  • income information from the date that you first fell behind on your payments
  • copy of your Debtor’s Statement of Account (from Maintenance Enforcement Program)
  • list of your assets (with values)
  • list of your debts (with values)

Step 2. Fill out the forms

If both parents live in Alberta

If both parents live in Alberta, either parent must fill out these forms:

To reduce arrears, the payor must fill out these forms:

If one parent lives outside Alberta

Either parent must fill out the Provisional Application to Change Child Support form (0.2 MB).

If the other parent lives outside Canada

If you’re unable to personally serve them documents, you may need to apply to have the documents served another way.

To do this, fill out the Application for Substitutional Service form (0.1 MB).

Step 3. File your claim

Do this at the same court, in the same location, where you’ve either:

  • already been to court with the other party
  • started any court action that hasn’t gone to court

If you haven’t done either of these things, file your claim at any court in Alberta.

If you’re the payor and are applying to reduce your support, the amount of support you have to pay won’t change until the court has made an order.

Note: If you don’t come to court, the judge may make an order in your absence.