A Guide to Applying to Change an Order

What this Guide is for:

This guide helps you apply to the court to ask to change a previous final court order. This is called filing a variation application.

You can only make a variation application to change the terms of a final order. You can’t make a variation application to change an interim order. An interim order is one that is made ‘in the meantime,’ before all of the issues have been finalized. For example, you might have an interim order to deal with parenting issues and support while your divorce is being processed.

If you are divorced, your final order is usually called a ‘Corollary Relief Order.’ Other types of final orders may be called ‘Consent Order,’ ‘Final Order’ or ‘Order.’  You will find the title of your order on the front page of the order, just below the names of the parties. A separation agreement or minutes of settlement that has been registered with a court may also be a final order.

You can make a variation application to change the terms of your order relating to children (parenting arrangements or support) or spousal support if there is a change in circumstances. This may include something like a job loss that may affect child support, or a change in the children’s living arrangements.

Note: if you have a final order with terms dealing with property, pensions, or debts, you probably cannot change those terms. Once these issues are final, usually as part of a divorce, you generally cannot change them afterward. If you have a final order for property, pensions, or debts that you want to have changed, you should speak to a lawyer for advice. You should also speak with a lawyer if you are not sure whether or not your order is a final order.

For definitions of family law terms, visit our Glossary or Parenting Terms: What do the Words Mean?


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?