Upon relationship breakdown, it is not uncommon for former spouses to relocate to a different province or country. In such cases, can the spouse residing in BC enforce a spousal or child support order against the former spouse in another Canadian province or a foreign jurisdiction?
The short answer would be yes. BC has reciprocal support enforcement agreements with all Canadian provinces, the US and several other foreign countries. The provincial legislation, Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders (ISO), establishes rules about establishment, variation, registration and enforcement of support orders made in reciprocating jurisdictions. This means that a support order made in one reciprocating jurisdiction will be recognized in every other reciprocating jurisdiction.
In addition to all of the Canadian provinces, the following countries have reciprocal agreements with BC:
- United States
- Czech Republic
- United Kingdom
- Northern Ireland
- Hong Kong
- New Zealand
- South Africa
If there is a support order in place, the applicant may enrol with the BC Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP). FMEP will register the order under the ISO and enforce the order in the respondent’s (payor) jurisdiction provided BC has a reciprocal agreement with the respondent’s province or country.
The applicant can apply for or change a support order in the respondent’s jurisdiction through ISO without having to be physically present in the respective province or country. The respondent will be required to go to court to respond to the application.