Can an Ontario support agreement or order be changed?
Yes, if both parents agree, they can simply make the change to the existing agreement or make a new agreement. The agreement must be dated, signed by both parents, and signed by a witness. The new agreement should be filed with the court where the original one was filed and then mailed to the FRO. If it is not filed with the court, the FRO cannot enforce the new support amount.
If the parents cannot agree about changing the agreement, then either parent can go to court and ask the court to make an order about support. A court order can also be changed, but only by the court.
Either parent can go to the court that made the original order and ask the court to change it. The court will do this only if there has been a significant change in circumstances. For example, if:
- the paying parent’s income has gone up or down significantly
- the child has withdrawn from parental control
- the child has moved from one household to another, or
- the child has medical expenses
If the order has not been changed since the Child Support Guidelines became law in 1997, then the fact that the Guidelines are now in effect is also enough reason for the court to consider changing the order.
A change in the income of the parent receiving support is not usually a reason to change the order. This is because, under the Child Support Guidelines, that parent’s income is not usually taken into account when support is set. But there are some circumstances in which their income is considered when support is ordered.
Remember, if you do go to court to change an order, the judge will almost always apply the Child Support Guidelines. Before applying for a change, find out how the Guidelines would affect you.