Seek advice when considering change to support payments

Seek advice when considering a change to support payments


Payees and payors can apply for a change in spousal support if there is a material change in circumstances, but both sides should have legal counsel guide them through the process, says Mississauga family lawyer Deepa Tailor.

“Family law is very case-law heavy, and you need someone who is able to craft a viable argument and present it to a court,” says Tailor, managing director of Tailor Law Professional Corporation. “These variation hearings are very complex and confusing for many people.”

Generally speaking, people can apply for a change in spousal support if something unforeseen occurs.

“The court will look for significant changes in the party’s financial circumstances,” Tailor tells

An example is an event that significantly affects a person’s life, such as a job loss or illness.

In all cases, she says those seeking a variation will have to file a motion to change an existing order, either under the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act.

A lawyer is needed to argue that a change in circumstance was foreseeable when the original order was made.

Reduce Payments

If the payor has reached retirement age and wants to reduce payments, that may not be allowed.

“Making the argument that you meet the grounds for the change to spousal support income is a very fact-specific inquiry that needs to be argued based on case law, as the test itself is not precise,” Tailor says. “

On the other hand, if the payor suffers a major illness, they may be able to reduce their support payments.

“consult a family lawyer to have documents prepped in case of changes in your life,” Tailor says.

“When it comes to support payments, final orders aren’t always final in family law,” she adds.

This post was first published on (which is now Inactive). This is a re-published article.

By Paul Russell, Contributor. October 1, 2019

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