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Get your order

Once you've gone through the family court process, you will have an order, usually written out in an endorsement that decides the issues in your case.

You or your partner should now get a formal signed order from the court. One of the forms you must fill out is Form 25: Order listing all the orders in the endorsement, and send it to the other for approval. You must both agree with the wording of the orders. In some cases, the court clerk will prepare the order for you.

Once you have your order, it's up to you and your partner to respect the order and follow it.

Here's what you have to do if you need to change or enforce your order.

Changing orders

How you change your order depends on the terms you want to change. Before going to court to change an order, you should try talking to your partner and see if you can agree on the changes. You can also get help from a family law professional. The Step Get help from a family law professional gives you more information on this.

Support terms

You ask a judge to change support by bringing a motion to change. The Step Bring a regular motion has information on how to make a consent order.

Other terms

You can ask a judge to change orders that don’t deal with support by asking for a variation of the court order by bringing a motion to change. The Step Change your order gives you more information about this.

To bring a motion to change, you must show a material change in circumstances. This means you have to show that there has been a major change to your situation such that your order needs to be revised to deal with those changes.

Or, if you and your partner agree, you can agree to the changes by making a consent order. The Step Bring a regular motion has information on how to make a consent order.

Enforcing orders

Sometimes one party won't follow the order. You may need the court's help to enforce the order by having the court order your partner to follow it.

Most support orders are enforced by the Family Responsibility Office (FRO).

The FRO is a government agency that collects support payments from the person who has to pay them, sends the payments to the person who has to get it, and makes sure child support and spousal support payments are made.

If your partner misses payments, the FRO can take action to enforce the order or agreement. For example, if your partner doesn't pay support, the FRO can order their employer to deduct money from their wages, suspend their driver's licence, or start a court case that can result in jail time.

If you have a court order that deals with child support or spousal support, the court sends the Support Deduction Order Information form and the Support Deduction Order to the FRO who will enforce the support order.

If you didn't go to court but have a separation agreement, you can file the agreement with the court if you want the FRO to enforce support payments. The Step File your separation agreement with the court gives you more information about how to do this.

If your order is about custody or access, you may have to go back to court if your partner isn't following the court order. You go to court to change the order or to ask the court to find your partner in contempt.

A contempt order means asking the judge to decide that your partner knew about the order and did not follow it on purpose. This is a complicated court process and is not used often.