What you need to know about making an application

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An application can be made about issues of parenting, child support and spousal support. Applications can also be made to deal with property and pensions.

If you are married, and are thinking of filing for divorce, please note that all of these issues will be addressed as part of your divorce. You do not need to make a separate application to address them before you apply for a divorce. However, you can, if you choose. If you are unsure of what’s best in your situation, you should speak to a lawyer for advice.

  • Which law applies? In Nova Scotia, non-divorce applications for parenting and support are generally made under the Parenting and Support Act. You can use this Act if you were not married to the other person, or if you are married but separated and have not started divorced proceedings. Applications for property division are made under common law principles or specific statutes for pensions. 

Remember: if you are filing for divorce, this kit is not the right one for you. You can’t file for divorce under the Parenting and Support Act.

  • What if I already have an order in place?  If you already have a court order, and you are looking to change the terms of that order, you probably need to make a Variation Application. Please speak to court staff or a lawyer for help, or visit the Variation Application kit here.
     
  • How do I begin the application process? You should start by identifying the issues you want to address, and the important terms that you want written in an order. This is referred to as the ‘relief’ you are seeking. Once you determine what issues to address, you must then determine which court you will be making your application to. The forms that you must fill out and file with the court may differ depending on which court you apply to. Usually the court closest to where you or the children live is the court you apply to. If you are unsure which court to apply to, ask a court staff member or speak to a lawyer.
     
  • What information do I need to make an application? Most applications require a form called a ‘Notice of Application.’ This form may look slightly different depending on which level of court you are applying to. In this form, you must check off which issue(s) you are looking to address.
     
  • You must provide a current address for the other party/ies. When you file your application and it gets processed by the court, the other party must be notified that you’ve applied to court. How this is done will depend on the situation. The court may send a package to the other party, or you may be directed to have them personally served. Personal service means that someone over 19 – other than you – hands the documents directly to the person being given notice. The court will direct you on what will happen in your case.  For more information about finding an address for the other party and personal service click here.
     
  • When you file an application, you may be directed by the court to attend an information session about how your file will proceed, the court process, and other general family law information.
     
  • If you are dealing with parenting arrangements, you will be directed to attend a Parent Information Program (PIP) Session. PIP attendance is mandatory for anyone dealing with parenting in the Nova Scotia Supreme Court (Family Division) or Family Court.