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Video: Interjurisdictional Support Orders


It's hard enough when a family breaks up; however, when one person lives in a different province, territory or country, there are a new set of challenges.

The Ontario Family Responsibility Office has enforcement agreements with every Canadian province and territory, every state in the United States of America, and approximately 30 other countries. These are known as “reciprocating jurisdictions.” FRO works with over 100 reciprocating jurisdictions.

The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, 2002 (ISO Act) makes it possible for FRO to enforce, and for you to get, change and register support orders for enforcement when one person lives in Ontario and the other lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction.

How it works

If the other person lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction, you can usually (without having to travel to that area):

  • get a support order
  • change an existing support order, or
  • enforce a support order.

The person in the reciprocating jurisdiction can do the same.

For example, a person living in Ontario can begin the process here. The order can be made, changed or enforced in the province, territory, state or country where the other person lives.

Note: This does not apply to support applications made under the federal Divorce Act. Divorce Act orders do not need to be registered in an Ontario court. They can be sent directly from the support recipient or from the local family support enforcement program to FRO for registration and enforcement.

If the other person lives in a country that is not a reciprocating jurisdiction

If the other person does not live in a reciprocating jurisdiction and you want to make a support order or change an existing support order you will need to talk to a lawyer about your options.

Registering support orders

A support order made in a Canadian reciprocating jurisdiction must be registered for enforcement in the Ontario court. Once registered in court, the support order will be sent to FRO for registration. If you would like to do your own enforcement, you can contact us to withdraw from the program. (Note: Quebec does not enforce Separation Agreements/Domestic Contracts or Paternity Agreements; it requires a support order.)

A support order made in a reciprocating jurisdiction outside of Canada must also be registered for enforcement in the Ontario court. In these situations, the court gives the support payor a notice of the registration. The notice or registration advises the payor that they have 30 days to ask the court to set aside the registration. This means that they can ask the court to decide that the support order cannot be enforced in Ontario.

Changing support orders

If you (the applicant) want to get or change a support order, you must fill out a set of application forms — either a standard application form or a support variation application form. You can get these forms online (see link below under “Learn More”) or from the courts, Family Law Information Centres and Legal Aid offices.

Many of the forms are sworn documents. This means you must sign them under oath in front of a Commissioner of Oaths or Notary Public. Completed forms should be sent to the appropriate office in the jurisdiction where you live. For example, if you live in Ontario, the forms are sent to the Ontario Family Responsibility Office (address below). We then forward the forms to the jurisdiction where the other person (the respondent) lives.

A court hearing is held in the respondent's jurisdiction. The respondent goes to court and files a matching set of forms. The judge should then have a full picture of the family situation and can make an order or change an existing one. If the judge grants the support order, the Family Responsibility Office will send a copy to you.

What is a provisional order?

Some jurisdictions require a “provisional order” to make or change a support order. A provisional order has no legal effect until it has been confirmed by a court in the reciprocating jurisdiction.

The following jurisdictions require provisional orders:

  • United Kingdom (consisting of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, Jersey, and Isle of Man)
  • New Zealand
  • Germany
  • Cayman Islands
  • Hong Kong, and
  • Quebec.

If you or the other person live in one of these jurisdictions, contact the Ontario court nearest to you for more information.

Currency exchange rates

Changes in currency rates may affect your support payments.

If your support order was made outside of Canada and then registered in Ontario, the order is converted to Canadian currency using either:

  • the exchange rate that was in effect on the date of the order, if available from the Bank of Canada, or
  • the exchange rate from the date the order was registered in Ontario.

The converted amount is the amount that the Family Responsibility Office can enforce.

Learn more

List of reciprocating jurisdictions:

Forms required under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act, 2002