What is ISO, NS ISO and Divorce Act ISO?

The term “ISO” generally stands for interjurisdictional support order processes where you and the other party live in different jurisdictions.  Most often, where one person lives in Nova Scotia and the other does not.

The process is used for child support and spousal support (money) issues only – not to deal with parenting arrangements.

Most ISO processes start as a paper-based procedure for the applicant who files an application in their home jurisdiction. The paper application is then sent to the jurisdiction where the other party lives to be set down for a court hearing. The applicant is not required to attend the court hearing in the other person’s jurisdiction.

The ISO process is generally used for getting (‘establishing’) and changing (‘varying’) support orders involving Nova Scotians and parties who live in reciprocating jurisdictions. Sometimes, it also provides a process for registering a support order in Nova Scotia for the purposes of enforcement when the order has been made in a reciprocating jurisdiction.

The process used to be only referred to as “ISO”, which stands for Nova Scotia’s provincial Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act. Now, similar processes are also available under the federal Divorce Act at sections 18.1 through 19.1, which came into force on March 1, 2021.

For simplicity, we refer to the interjurisdictional process under Nova Scotia’s provincial law as “NS ISO” and the process under the federal Divorce Act as “Divorce Act ISO”. These two processes are similar but there are some important differences.

Interjurisdictional support processes can be complex. It is always recommended you obtain legal advice. Click here for information about legal support and advice options in Nova Scotia, including no- and low-cost services.

Was this page helpful?