Frequently Asked Questions
How does ISO work?
The person who wants to obtain or change a support order (the claimant or applicant) will need to fill out a set of detailed application forms. The forms will include all the information which would normally be included in a court hearing. The claimant or applicant sends the completed sworn forms package to the designated authority office which is the Support Enforcement Program (SEP) in the province or territory where he or she lives. This office will then send the forms package to the equivalent office in the jurisdiction where the other person lives. The other person (respondent) will receive a copy of the forms package, be summoned to court in that jurisdiction and be asked to reply to the application. The court in the respondent’s jurisdiction will then consider the application and evidence from both parties and can make an order.
Do I have to go to court?
If you are the claimant or applicant making the application to obtain or change an order, you are generally not expected to attend the court hearing which will take place in the respondent’s jurisdiction. Your application, which you have sworn or affirmed under oath, represents you in the other court. If you are the respondent served with the application and summons to appear, you will be required to attend the court hearing in the jurisdiction where you live.
What forms do I need?
This depends on your situation. You can use the online FormSelect tool on this website to help you choose which forms you need for your application. Each form is accompanied by a guide that explains how to fill out the form. The “Introduction and General Information Guide”, which you can find under List of Forms on the website, also provides information about which forms to use.
*Quebec and some non-Canadian jurisdictions have special forms or processes, so it is recommended that you contact SEP to obtain up-to-date information before you begin.
Do I need a provisional order for my application?
A provisional order is an order made in one reciprocating jurisdiction that has no effect until confirmed by a court in another reciprocating jurisdiction. Your application does not require a provisional order unless the other jurisdiction where the respondent lives requires one. You should contact the Support Enforcement Program or consult a lawyer to find out which jurisdictions require a provisional order.
Can I use ISO to deal with parenting arrangements for my children?
No. ISO deals with child and spousal support only and not guardianship, parenting arrangements, contact, custody or access.
What does it mean to swear or affirm my application?
Your ISO forms application package is being submitted to the court as evidence and requires an oath or affirmation from you that the information you have provided is true. After you have finished putting together your application, you must take it to a Commissioner of Oaths, lawyer or Notary Public who will witness your signature on the document, and also sign and stamp the document. Some reciprocating jurisdictions may have specific rules about how a document is sworn or affirmed; to be safe, getting your application notarized is recommended.
Do I need a lawyer?
This is up to you. If you make or respond to an ISO application, you may wish to talk to a lawyer for help about your situation.
If I start an ISO application in NL, how long will the process take?
This can vary as two different jurisdictions are involved. After your application is sent to the reciprocating jurisdiction where the respondent lives, that jurisdiction will process your application under its administrative procedures and court processes. This can include setting up a court date, notifying the respondent of the application, holding a hearing and preparing any order resulting from the application. This can take a long time if the respondent is difficult to locate, the court requires further information from you and/or the respondent before making an order or if the court is very busy.
Is there a fee for filing an ISO application in NL?
There is no fee to receive and process your application. However, if you hire a lawyer to assist you, you will have to pay the lawyer’s fees. You may also have to pay a small fee for having your documents notarized.
Does ISO apply to all support orders?
No. ISO does not apply to support orders made under the Divorce Act, which is a federal law. A person who wants to include support in a divorce action, or change an existing Divorce Act order, will need to proceed under that law.
What can I do if the other person lives in a country that is not a reciprocating jurisdiction?
If the other person lives in a non-reciprocating jurisdiction, the ISO procedures will not apply. To obtain an order, or change an existing one, it will be necessary to get legal advice on the options available.
What happens after an order is made from my application?
If the court in the other jurisdiction makes an order, SEP, the designated authority, will receive copies of the order and will forward a copy to you. It is important that you update SEP if your contact information changes. If you wish to have your support order enforced by the Support Enforcement Program you must file the order with the court in Newfoundland and Labrador. If you are already enrolled with SEP, it will be registered with the court and enforced.