Nova Scotia is in the process of updating its Interjurisdictional Support Orders (ISO) legislation, making it easier to claim spousal or child support from an individual living outside the province.
For those unfamiliar with ISO laws, they are used to establish and provide support when one parent lives in the province, and the other lives in a reciprocating province or country.
Key changes were made on February 12, 2018, and include:
- Clearer instructions on which forms are needed and how to complete them.
- Separate forms for applications and variations of support (Forms A1 and A2).
- An option to designate an address for service. This can assist in ensuring safety and confidentiality.
- An opportunity for the applicant to participate in the support proceeding. Participation is not mandatory, but the applicant may be permitted to participate.
Beyond applications, the ISO provisions also include tracing services. Nova Scotia’s ‘Reciprocity Clerk’ can request information from public bodies to assist in locating respondents living within and outside of the province.
Since 2015, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) processes have been made available for ISO applications. A Court Officer provides both parties with a copy of the application and invites them to participate in Nova Scotia. However, both parties must consent.
Although only a small sample size, it appears that using ADR in ISO applications is successful. An independent evaluation conducted in 2017 found that these processes:
- improved access to justice for families by providing an alternative to traditional litigation;
- reduced case processing times;
- promoted problem solving;
- lead to earlier finalization of proceedings;
- lead to more responsive court orders;
- resulted in improved communication between reciprocating jurisdictions; and
- resulted in better collaboration and co-operation.
If you are wondering if an ISO application may be right for you, please feel free to contact any of our family lawyers and we would be happy to assist you.
For more information on ISO applications, please visit the Family Law Nova Scotia website.