Supreme Court

How to draft a Supreme Court order

Section 3: Spousal support (Optional)

Show instructions

Use this section if orders have been made about spousal support. It includes sample orders on the following topics:

  • Changing a previous spousal support order
  • Income for spousal support
  • Spousal support to be paid
  • Changes to spousal support
  • Spousal support review
  • Arrears of support

Spousal support is paid to a former spouse under an agreement or court order. Spousal support is also called maintenance.

Under BC law, you can apply for spousal support if:

  • you were married,

  • you lived together in a marriage-like relationship (common-law) for at least two years, or

  • you lived in a marriage-like relationship for less than two years and have a child together.

For more information, see our fact sheet Spousal support.

Important: If you're a status Indian, see also the child and spousal support section of Your family and the law on our Aboriginal Legal Aid in BC website for important information about spousal support.

The general instructions for this section are as follows:

  1. Click Show instructions at the beginning of each topic for more information and specific directions.
  2. Choose the clauses that reflect the orders made by the judge. Insert the requested details in the text boxes. Click Don't include for orders that don't apply.
  3. When you're done, click Open text version. Make any changes to the orders necessary to reflect what the judge said or wrote. Copy and paste this text into your correct court form.

Tip: Remember that all the clauses below are automatically included in your text version unless you click Don't include. If you change your mind, you can always include them again by clicking Include.

Changing a previous spousal support order

Show instructions

Include clause 1 if the court makes orders to change or vary an existing spousal support order.

  1. Enter the name of the judge who made the previous order as it appears on the previous order.
  2. Enter the date the previous order was made.
  3. Describe the changes the court has ordered. If this order changes only some paragraphs of the previous order, provide the paragraph numbers.

The Order of the Honourable Judge , made , is changed as follows:

Include
Don't include

Income for spousal support

Show instructions

The judge can make orders about the parties' income, which spousal support will be based on.

  1. Choose clauses 2 and 3 to include both parties’ guideline incomes.
  2. Include clause 4 if the court is imputing income to one party for spousal support purposes.
  3. Include clause 5 to record any other orders about income for spousal support. Write what the judge said in the text box.

The claimant is found to be a resident of British Columbia and is found to have a gross annual income of .

Include
Don't include

The respondent is found to be a resident of British Columbia and is found to have a gross annual income of .

Include
Don't include

The (choose claimant/respondent) is found to be a resident of British Columbia and is imputed to have a gross annual income of .

claimant
respondent
Include
Don't include
Include
Don't include

Spousal support to be paid

Show instructions

Spousal support is usually a set amount paid once a month on a specific date. A spousal support order may include when the obligation to pay spousal support will end. This could be a specific date, such as after seven years. It could also be an event, such as one of the following: death, remarriage, completion of a training program, self-sufficiency, receipt of pension benefits, or a child becoming an adult.

  1. Choose clause 6 to include the ordered amount of basic spousal support payable. Fill in the amount of monthly spousal support, the date the payments will start, and the ongoing date of the monthly payments. If you claimed and received an order for retroactive child support, the court may simply backdate the date when the payor has to start paying child support.
  2. Include clause 7 if the court makes an order for interim spousal support. This is spousal support that's paid in the meantime, before final resolution. Fill in the amount of monthly spousal support, the date the payments will start, and the ongoing date of the monthly payments.
  3. Include clause 8 if the court makes an order for spousal support for a specific period of time or until a specific event. Fill in the amount of monthly spousal support, the date the payments will start, the ongoing date of the monthly payments, and the date or event on which payments will stop.
  4. Include clause 9 to record any other orders about spousal support to be paid. Write what the judge said in the text box.

The (choose claimant/respondent) will pay to the (choose claimant/respondent) for that party's support the sum of per month, commencing on and continuing on the day of each and every month thereafter.

claimant
respondent
Include
Don't include

The (choose claimant/respondent) will pay to the (choose claimant/respondent) for that party's interim support the sum of per month, commencing on and continuing on the day of each and every month thereafter until further Order of this Court.

claimant
respondent
Include
Don't include

The (choose claimant/respondent) will pay to the (choose claimant/respondent) for that party's support the sum of per month, commencing on and continuing on the day of each and every month thereafter until , at which time spousal support will be terminated.

claimant
respondent
Include
Don't include
Include
Don't include

Changes to spousal support

Show instructions

Since spousal support is based on facts that may change over time, spousal support can be changed or adjusted when there's a change in circumstances. One common event for a change in spousal support is a significant change in one of the party's incomes. If you have an order or agreement about spousal support, you may make an application for a change in the future due to a change in circumstances.

  1. Include clause 10 if the court orders that each party must tell the other immediately when there's a change in circumstances.
  2. Include clause 11 to record any other orders about changes to spousal support. Write what the judge said in the text box.

The claimant and respondent must each notify the other immediately upon becoming aware of a material change in circumstance that may affect spousal support obligations.

Include
Don't include
Include
Don't include

Reviews of support

Show instructions

Spousal support can be reviewed in the future, if ordered. An order can provide for a review to take place:

  • on or after a certain time or event;
  • upon one spouse’s receipt of pension benefits after retirement; or
  • for other reasons specified in an order or agreement.

If no review clause is included in an order, spousal support may only be changed under limited conditions, including a change in circumstances.

  1. Include clause 12 if the court orders a future review of spousal support. Describe the date, event, or circumstance that would prompt the review.
  2. Include clause 13 if the court orders an ongoing duty to exchange financial information. Specify the year this exchange will start. Add any other disclosures ordered by the court. If necessary, change this clause in your text file to reflect what the judge specifically ordered.
  3. Include clause 14 to record any other orders about reviews of support. Write what the judge said in the text box.

Spousal support will be reviewed upon .

Include
Don't include

Starting in and for so long as there is a duty to pay spousal support, the parties will exchange: a) copies of their respective income tax returns, including all attachments, no later than June 1st of each year; b) copies of any Notices of Assessment or Reassessment provided to them by Canada Revenue Agency, as soon as such notice is received; and c)

Include
Don't include
Include
Don't include

Arrears of support

Show instructions

Arrears accrue (pile up) when one party had an order to pay spousal support but didn't pay it.

  1. Include clause 15 if the court makes an order that arrears of spousal support exist. Insert the details.
  2. Include clause 16 to reflect what the court ordered about repayment of arrears. Insert the minimum amount to be paid each month, the date the payments will start, and the date of the monthly payments to follow.
  3. Include clause 17 to record any other orders about arrears of support. Write what the judge said in the text box.

The arrears owing from the (choose claimant/respondent) to the (choose claimant/respondent) as of are , including principal and interest.

claimant
respondent
Include
Don't include

The (choose claimant/respondent) will pay to the (choose claimant/respondent) a minimum of per month toward the arrears of spousal support, commencing on and continuing on the day of each and every month thereafter until the arrears are paid in full or until further Court Order.

claimant
respondent
Include
Don't include
Include
Don't include