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Can the courts change a maintenance order after a divorce?

A good parent should want to support his or her child to the best of his or her ability. Even after a divorce, each parent is encouraged to play a role in the upbringing of the children. This may include spending time together, helping to make important decisions for the child and paying maintenance to the custodial parent. However, a parent should not be expected to pay more money than is necessary, or be put in a financially untenable position because of maintenance payments. For that reason, it may be possible to change a court order for maintenance in Alberta.

There are several reasons why one may wish to alter the amount of monthly child support payments. An obvious one is a change in the number of dependent children. A significant change to a person's income could make an existing order difficult to fulfill. Additionally, a change in section 7 expenses, also called special or extraordinary expenses, could merit a corresponding change to payments. 

Two parties that agree an alteration to the original court order is warranted can seek a consent order to finalize the matter. Should there be disagreement, however, an application to the court must be made so that a judge can make a decision. If finances are the key issue, the judge will require full disclosure of the applicant's financial situation.

When significant changes occur in a family, it may be necessary to seek a change to a child support maintenance order. Doing so is not always a simple matter, however, and applicants are advised that legal help may be very useful. An Alberta family law practitioner can assist a man or woman with this, or other aspects of his or her divorce.

Source: justice.alberta.ca, "Varying or Changing Your Court Order", Accessed on May 10, 2017

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