1. Figure out if there has been a change

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Family Law - Separation and divorce

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How do I change my court order?
This question has an answer and 5 steps
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1. Figure out if there has been a change

Look to see if you or your partner's situation has changed.

Child support

Child support might be changed if there has been a change to the payor parent's income or if there are new special or extraordinary expenses.

Child support is generally calculated using the child support tables. The tables show you how much you should pay based on your income and the number of children you have. This free online calculator can help you figure out the table amount of child support.

Spousal support, decision-making, and parenting time

To change spousal supportdecision-making responsibility, parenting time, or parenting arrangements, you must show a material change in circumstances. This means you have to show that your situation has changed so much that your court order needs to be changed. Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called custody and access.

Spousal support

Spousal support might be changed because, for example:

  • The partner paying support loses their job and can no longer pay the spousal support agreed on.
  • The partner receiving spousal support makes more money and the partner paying support wants to reduce or end spousal support.
  • The partner receiving spousal support should now be self-supporting.

Spousal support is usually decided using the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG). The SSAGs use 2 different formulas. One is for partners who have no children together, and the other is for partners who have children together. This free online calculator can give you an idea about the amount of spousal support that might be paid, but it only does simple calculations and it only takes employment income into account.

Decision-making and parenting time

Decision-making responsibility, parenting time, and parenting arrangments might be changed if you can show the judge:

  1. There has been a change that affects your child or the ability of you and your partner to meet the needs of your child.
  2. The change must greatly affect your child.
  3. The change is something that could not have been predicted at the time the original order was made.

Some examples may include:

  • The conflict between the parents has gotten worse over time.
  • The parent with the right to make decisions is always interfering with the other parent's parenting time with the child.
  • The child's new school schedule conflicts with your parenting time plan.

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Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General
Reviewed: March 1, 2021

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