You can start your application through a lawyer, either one that you hire privately (retain), or get assigned to you through Legal Aid, if you qualify. You can visit Legal Aid’s website for more information.
You can also start a court application without a lawyer.
As a general rule, if both you and the other parent live in Nova Scotia, you can contact the court nearest to you to start the court process, or you may have to contact the court where the other parent is living, if the children also live there. Many courts, like the Family Court and Supreme Court (Family Division), have an intake process, where you can get help from a court officer to start your application. You may also find help in our application guides:
If the other party lives outside of Nova Scotia, different rules may apply, depending on where they live, and whether you are divorced from that person.
If you live in Nova Scotia, and the other person lives outside of Nova Scotia, you may have to use the ISO process. ISO stands for the Nova Scotia Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act. This is the law that governs the process used for getting and changing support orders involving Nova Scotians and parties who live in other jurisdictions, where provincial or territorial laws (not the federal Divorce Act) are being applied. If you are divorced from the other person (or are in the middle of a divorce proceeding), you probably will not use the ISO process.
Many forms for starting applications are available online, as well. You should get advice from a lawyer or speak with court staff to make sure you are filing the right documents for your case. You will usually have to file several documents to start an application.
If you are addressing child support issues as part of an ongoing (not yet final) divorce proceeding, you will deal with these issues wherever the divorce was filed. Once the divorce is finalized, and you apply to change your order for support, you may have to speak to a court officer or get advice from a lawyer to figure out which court you should apply to.