When You Live Outside of Canada (ISO Process)

If you are looking to apply to establish or vary (change) either child or spousal support and:

  • you live outside of Canada; and,

  • the other person lives in Nova Scotia;

there may be a cross-border process available to you. This process is forms-based and may be referred to as the interjurisdictional support order (ISO) process. There are two laws that deal with this process: Nova Scotia’s provincial Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act or “NS ISO” and the federal Divorce Act or “Divorce Act ISO”. The Divorce Act ISO process came into effect in March 2021.

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. For information on how to get legal advice in your home country, you may wish to contact your local courthouse or Designated Authority office.

Read the following questions and pick the answer that applies to you to learn if the ISO process may be available.

1. Do You Live in One of These Countries?

(United States of America)

  • United States of America, including the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands

(Asia)

  • Singapore, Republic of

(Europe)

  • Austria, Republic of
  • Germany, Federal Republic of
  • Gilbratar
  • Island of Guernsey
  • Isle of Man
  • Norway, Kingdom of
  • Poland, Republic of
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

(Pacific Ocean)

  • Australian Capital Territory
  • New South Wales
  • Northern Territory
  • South Australia
  • Tasmania
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia
  • Independent States of Papua New Guinea
  • New Zealand (including Cook Islands)

You live in a reciprocating jurisdiction with Nova Scotia. Please continue to the next questions.

If you do not live in one of the above places, the interjurisdictional support order process is not available to you. Contact a lawyer to learn what option(s) are in your best interests. For information on obtaining legal advice from a lawyer in Nova Scotia, click here.

2. Are you divorced from the other person who lives in Nova Scotia?

Please go to the next question.

If you are not divorced from the other person (e.g. never married or married but not divorcing) and live in a reciprocating jurisdiction, the NS ISO process may be available to you.

Generally, in this process, you would file your application with the office responsible for interjurisdictional support applications in your home country (often called the “Designated Authority”). The application would be reviewed and sent to Nova Scotia’s Reciprocity Office. If the application is complete, it will be sent to the court nearest to the other person and scheduled for a court hearing. You are not required to attend the court hearing in Nova Scotia. If you want to participate in the court hearing by telephone or other electronic means, you can include this request in your application and the court will decide if you will be invited to participate.

When an interjurisdictional support application is received in Nova Scotia, you may be contacted to participate in assisted dispute resolution (ADR). ADR is where a court officer works with you and the other person to help you negotiate and try to reach an agreement without either party having to go to court. Click here for more information.

To learn more about how to start the interjurisdictional support application process, contact your local Designated Authority or office responsible for processing interjurisdictional support applications.

3. Was your divorce from the other person granted by a Canadian Court?

If you were divorced from the other person in Canada and live in a reciprocating jurisdiction, you may be able to apply to obtain or vary support using the NS ISO process, or Divorce Act ISO (s. 19) process.

Generally, in this process, you would file your application with the office responsible for interjurisdictional support applications in your home country (often called the “Designated Authority”). The application would be reviewed and sent to Nova Scotia’ Reciprocity Office. If the application is complete, it will be sent to the court nearest to the other person and scheduled for a court hearing. You are not required to attend the court hearing in Nova Scotia. If you want to participate in the court hearing by telephone or other electronic means, you can include this request in your application and the court will decide if you will be invited to participate.

When an interjurisdictional support application is received in Nova Scotia, you may be contacted to participate in assisted dispute resolution (ADR). ADR is where a court officer works with you and the other person to help you negotiate and try to reach an agreement without either party having to go to court. Click here for more information.

To learn more about how to start the interjurisdictional support application process, contact your local Designated Authority or office responsible for processing interjurisdictional support applications.

If you were divorced from the other person in another country (NOT Canada), the interjurisdictional support order process is generally not available to you. Contact a lawyer to learn what option(s) are in your best interests. For information on obtaining legal advice from a lawyer in Nova Scotia, click here.