Family Law Blog

After the Family Court Changes an Order, is the Original Order Still Enforceable?

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Family Law is all about changing family dynamics.   Families do not stop changing just because a court makes a Final Order. Parenting arrangements and child support are particularily prone to changes because children’s lives change as they get older and child support is centered around parents’ incomes, which usually change every year. Consequently, there is a special, simpler, court process to change most Family Court Orders and an online child support recalculation service that is available to many parents to adjust Child Support Orders.   Click here to go to a page the described when you can change parenting and child support orders and the procedures available to make those changes.   If you have to go to court to get the change, listen to this podcast for a detailed explanation of how to do that.


Ontario Family Law Podcast

10 - Child Support - Who Pays and How Much?

32 - How to Change a Support Order

40 - How to Keep Your Money in Separation and Divorce

The whole simplified procedure around changing an order is based on the premise that almost all of the issues related to the separation have been addressed in the original final court order.  The court process is shorter precisely because the Family Court Judge is not trying to decide every issue again, but is only making adjustments here and there to reflect how the family has changed since the original order.   Since decisions and settlements on issues such a property division are not affected by on-going changes to the family, those orders are very difficult to change.  


When a judge changes a Family Court Final Order, he or she only changes the parts that MUST be changed because a change in the family’s circumstances.   If nothing has happened to make it necessary to change parts of a Family Court Final Order, then the Judge will leave things the way they were.  In fact, the new Order will specify precisely which paragraphs of the original Order the new Order is changing.   The rest of the Final Order remain in effect and the parties can enforce those remaining terms.   One change that a judge can make is to “terminate” a term of an Order, such as a requirement that one party pay support to the other.  If a Court “terminates” a term of an previous Order, than those terms are “dead” and can the parties cannot enforce them.


Until a judge has specifically changed or terminated a term of a Final Order, that term remains in full force and effect.


Things are a little different for Temporary Orders.  The purpose of a Temporary Order is address issues between the separated spouses or parents until their matter gets to trial or is settled on a final basis.   Once the case is finished, those Temporary Orders are no longer needed.   So, Final Orders have the effect of terminating all Temporary Orders.  Once a Final Order is in effect, all the Temporary Orders are finished and are no longer enforceable – unless the Final Order says that specific terms of a Temporary Order continue to be in effect.


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If you need to enforce a Court Order, then probably something is going wrong because one of the parties is not following the terms.  The best way to protect yourself, your children, and your financial security, is to find out how the law applies specifically to your situation and what steps you should take to get things to work out for you.  Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book to the left), John Schuman, has extensive experience assisting clients with difficult legal issues, such as enforcement of Court Orders, or the difficult situations that lead to those Court Orders. Contact him right now by using the contact form below, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate).


You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a comprehensive explanation of child support, spousal support, property division, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or iBook for your iPad or iPhone or ordering it from Amazon as a paperback.  


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