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Former Partner Lives Outside Manitoba

After a separation or divorce, one party may choose to move to another province, territory or country. The process for applying for spousal support may look different depending on individual circumstances.

If a spouse or former partner lives outside Manitoba, is it possible to apply for support?

A married spouse or common-law partner living in Manitoba can apply for support in a Manitoba court under The Family Maintenance Act, if the other party lives outside Manitoba. If the other party 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 of Manitoba. If the other party does not agree with the Manitoba court hearing the matter, the order may not be enforceable outside Manitoba.

If a spouse or former partner lives outside Canada, is it possible to apply for support?

If the other spouse or common-law partner 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 Queen’s Bench Rules.

Does it matter what province or country the spouse or former partner lives in?

Under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act (The ISO Act) of Manitoba, a person living in Manitoba can apply for a spousal or common-law partner support order when the other spouse or former partner lives in a reciprocating jurisdiction outside Manitoba and has not agreed to the Manitoba court dealing with the matter under The Family Maintenance Act. Similarly, the ISO Act allows a person living in a reciprocating jurisdiction to start an application in their home province, state or country for a support order against a spouse or former partner living in Manitoba.

A reciprocating jurisdiction is a province, state or country that has an agreement with Manitoba to help Manitobans obtain or 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. Some reciprocating jurisdictions outside Canada may not establish spousal support orders through the inter-jurisdictional application process or enforce spousal support orders unless there is also a child support order for the same family. The list of reciprocating jurisdictions can be found at the end of the Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Regulation at https://web2.gov.mb.ca/laws/regs/current/_pdf-regs.php?reg=10/2003

How do I apply for or change (vary) support if the other spouse, former spouse or former partner is not in Manitoba?

Under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders Act, Manitoba spouses or common-law partners 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 party lives. The other party will be notified of the application and the court there will make the appropriate support order. The same application process is available to former spouses who wish to apply for or change a spousal support order made under the Divorce Act (Canada) where the other former spouse lives in another province or territory in Canada.

Click here for The General Introduction and General Information Guide

Click here for the support application forms

When the other party lives outside Canada, there may be additional forms or procedures to follow under The Inter-jurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) Act. The ISO Act specifies the situations in which the Manitoba court may vary a support order in an inter-jurisdictional case, without the support variation application forms procedure being used. The support variation application process under the Divorce Act (Canada) is not available when the other former spouse lives outside Canada.

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).

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 a Manitoba court and enforced by the Maintenance Enforcement Program. Manitoba spouses or common-law partners 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 spouses or common-law partners who feel that a support order made outside Canada should not have been made will be able to ask a Manitoba court to 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 spousal support is made under the Divorce Act (Canada)?

Spouses can apply for spousal 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, but does not have to agree with the Manitoba court hearing the matter for the Manitoba court to make a valid order.

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.

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.

Similarly, a Manitoba court can make valid and enforceable orders varying a spousal support order (variation order) even if one of the spouses does not live in Manitoba. This can be done as long as the other spouse is served with the application and agrees that the Manitoba court should decide the application.

Additionally, support application forms are available for Manitoba former spouses 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 spousal support order in place or when they want to apply to change a current support order made under the Divorce Act (Canada).

The support application forms will be sent to the province or territory where the other person lives. The other person will be notified of the application. The court in that province or territory will make the appropriate support order.

Click here for the Introduction and General Information Guide

Click here for the support application forms

If one of the spouses lives in Manitoba and the other lives outside of Canada and is served with the application, the Manitoba court can make a variation order, whether or not the out-of-country spouse agrees that the Manitoba court should decide the application. Remember that it may be necessary to arrange to serve the former spouse outside Canada by following the required procedures under the Hague Service Convention

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.