You can start your application through a lawyer, either one that you hire privately (retain), or get assigned to you through Legal Aid, if you qualify. You can visit Legal Aid’s website for more information.
You can also start a court application without a lawyer.
As a general rule, if both you and the other party live in Nova Scotia, you can contact the court nearest to you to start the court process. Many courts, like the Family Court and Supreme Court (Family Division), will have an intake process, where you can get help from a court officer to start your application. If the other party lives outside of Nova Scotia, different rules may apply, depending on where they live, and whether you are divorced from that person.
If you are living in Nova Scotia, and the other person lives outside of Nova Scotia, you may have to use the ISO process. ISO stands for the Nova Scotia Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act. This is the law that governs the process used for getting and changing (‘varying’) support orders involving Nova Scotians and parties who live in other jurisdictions, where provincial or territorial laws (not the federal Divorce Act) are being applied. If you are divorced from the other person (or are in the middle of a divorce proceeding), you probably will not use the ISO process.
To start an application under ISO, you must complete and swear a support application before a Commissioner of Oaths or a notary, where required. You may want to consider having your documents notarized in any event, just to be on the safe side. You should use standard ISO forms for your application. ISO forms are available at the court near you, or here.
Many forms for starting applications are available online, as well. You should get advice from a lawyer or speak with court staff to make sure you are filing the right documents for your case. You will usually have to file several documents to start an application, not just one or two.
If you are addressing spousal support issues as part of an ongoing (not yet final) divorce proceeding, you will deal with these issues wherever the divorce was filed.