Parent Lives Outside Manitoba
After a separation or divorce, one parent may choose to move to another province, territory or country. The process for applying for child support may look different depending on individual circumstances. In limited circumstances, the Child Support Service may be able to make a Child Support Calculation Decision or Recalculation Decision when one parent lives outside Manitoba.
If the other parent lives outside Manitoba, is it possible to apply for child support?
A parent living in Manitoba can apply for support in the Manitoba courts under The Family Maintenance Act, even if the other parent lives outside Manitoba. If the other parent is served notice and agrees to have the Manitoba court deal with the matter, the Manitoba court can hold a hearing and may make a support order that is valid and enforceable outside Manitoba. If the other parent does not agree with the Manitoba court hearing the matter, the order may not be enforceable outside Manitoba. Instead of making a court application, the inter-jurisdictional support application process under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act or under the Divorce Act (Canada) may be a better option.
If the other parent lives outside Canada, is it possible to apply for child support?
If the other parent lives outside Canada, it may be necessary for the court documents to be served as required by The Hague Convention on Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters (“The Hague Service Convention”). For further information about this Convention, refer to the Court of King’s Bench Rules. Instead of making a court application, the inter-jurisdictional support application process under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act may be a better option, depending on the country where the other parent lives.
Does it matter what province or country the other parent lives in?
Manitoba has arrangements with all other provinces and territories, the United States, and with several other foreign countries for applications relating to child support where one parent lives in Manitoba and the other parent lives elsewhere. The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act sets out procedures for recognizing, establishing and varying child and other family support obligations when parties live in different provinces or certain countries. A reciprocating jurisdiction is a province, state or country that has an arrangement with Manitoba to help Manitobans obtain and enforce support orders against a resident in that province, state or country.
Residents of the other province, state or country are also able to obtain and enforce support orders against Manitoba residents. All Canadian provinces and territories and all American states are reciprocating jurisdictions, along with many other foreign countries. The list of reciprocating jurisdictions can be found at the end of the Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Regulation.
How do I apply for or change (vary) support if the other parent is not in Manitoba?
Under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act, and recent changes to the Divorce Act (Canada), Manitoba parents who want to apply for or change (vary) support obligations must fill out a support application form that will be sent to the jurisdiction where the other parent lives. The other parent will be notified of the application and the court there will make the appropriate support order. When the other parent lives outside Canada, the Divorce Act (Canada) process does not apply, and in other cases there may be additional forms or procedures to follow.
Can support orders made outside of Manitoba be enforced in Manitoba?
Support orders made in other Canadian provinces and territories, and in foreign reciprocating countries, can be registered in the Manitoba court and enforced by the Maintenance Enforcement Program.
Manitoba parents who feel that a support order made in another Canadian province or territory should not have been made will need to apply to that other court if they wish to challenge it. Manitoba parents who feel a support order made outside Canada should not have been made can ask the Manitoba court to set aside the registration and treat the order as a support application and request a court hearing in Manitoba to set the appropriate amount of support.
What happens if the application for child support is made under the Divorce Act (Canada)?
Spouses can apply for child support under the Divorce Act (Canada) in a Manitoba court, as long as one of the spouses lives in Manitoba. The other spouse must be served with the petition. Even if they don’t agree with the hearing being held in Manitoba, an order from a Manitoba court is valid.
A support order made under the Divorce Act (Canada) is valid and enforceable across Canada, and will usually be enforceable in reciprocating jurisdictions under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act. In some situations, the support order will not be enforceable outside Canada. For example, if the other parent lives in the United States, there are certain circumstances in which a child support order made by the Manitoba court will not be enforceable in the state where the parent resides. This is why it is advisable to look into this issue before asking the Manitoba court to make a support order against a resident of another country.
Similarly, a Manitoba court can make a valid and enforceable order varying a child support order (variation order), where one of the spouses does not live in Manitoba, as long as the other spouse is served with the application and agrees that the Manitoba court should decide the application.
If one spouse lives outside Canada, it may be necessary for the petition for divorce to be served on that spouse using a method required by The Hague Service Convention. The Hague Service Convention may also be applicable when a former spouse outside Canada must be served with documents relating to a variation application.
Additionally, support application forms are available for Manitoba parents who are divorced and whose former spouse lives in a different province or territory in Canada. They can be used when former spouses either do not have a child support order in place or when they want to apply to change a current child support order made under the Divorce Act (Canada).
The support application forms will be sent to the province or territory where the other parent lives. The other parent will be notified of the application and the court there will make the appropriate support order.
Where can I get more information?
For further information, contact Manitoba’s Designated Authority at the Family Law Section, Legal Services Branch, Manitoba Justice at ISOQuestions@gov.mb.ca or 204-945-0268 in Winnipeg; toll free 1-800-282-8069 (Ext. 0268). Manitoba’s Designated Authority can provide legal information only, for information on how to access legal advice, visit the Legal Support section of the Family Law Manitoba website.