Where do I file my variation application?

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Where you file your variation application depends on:

  • what issue(s) you are applying to deal with
  • where you are
  • where the other party is
  • where the children live (if addressing parenting, or in some cases, child support)

It may also depend on whether or not you are divorced from the other party or whether you were in a common law relationship with the other party as different statutes can apply to married couples and common law couples.

Figuring out which court to apply to can be confusing. Please speak to court staff or a lawyer to get help determining where to make your variation application.

Parenting Issues (custody, visitation, moving with a child)

If you are applying to change a parenting order – one dealing with custody of a child, parenting time, contact time or interaction, or moving with a child – you generally must file the variation application in the court nearest to where the child lives.

If the child lives outside of Nova Scotia, you will probably have to contact the court nearest them for information about how to make an application there.

Child Support

If you are applying to change or end child support, including special expenses, you will usually file your variation application in the court nearest to where the child lives. If you live in Halifax, Sydney or Port Hawkesbury OR are divorced and making your application in the Supreme Court, you may be able to make a child support variation application in the court near you no matter where the child is living.

If you were never married to the other person, or are married and separated, with no divorce ever started, and the other party lives outside of Nova Scotia, you may have to use a different type of application process to change your order. These applications are called ‘ISO’ applications. ISO stands for ‘Interjurisdictional Support Orders’ and is the process often used to address support issues when the parties live in different provinces or territories and do not have an order under the Divorce Act.

Spousal Support

Whether or not you can change a spousal support order depends on the facts of your case and the wording in your existing order. It will be helpful for you to speak to a lawyer for advice about your situation.

If you are applying to change or end spousal support, you will usually file your variation application in the court nearest you, or you may be able to file the application in the court nearest to where the other person lives. Please speak to court staff or a lawyer to get help determining where to make your variation application.

If you were never married to the other person, or are married and separated, with no divorce ever started, and the other party lives outside of Nova Scotia, you may have to use a different type of application process to change your order. These applications are called ‘ISO’ applications. ISO stands for ‘Interjurisdictional Support Orders’ and is the process often used to address support issues when the parties live in different provinces or territories and do not have an order under the Divorce Act.