How To Apply For A Variance In Child Support In Alberta

How To Apply For A Variance In Child Support In Alberta

Messing with the status quo can be intimidating. Many parents put off applying to vary the amount of child support they either receive or pay under a court order or agreement simply because they are not sure how to proceed. Unfortunately, if the amount of child support that a parent is paying on behalf of their children no longer makes sense given the parents’ incomes or the children’s living situation, then this can create hardship for the entire family.  

The details of how to apply for a variance in child support in Alberta may depend on your particular circumstances. Our Edmonton family law lawyers can help you determine the best way to proceed.

How Do You Vary Child Support? 

Alberta’s Child Support Recalculation Program can recalculate the amount of child support due under the relevant child support order in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The program accounts for variations to the parents’ incomes and performs the required calculations. They charge a relatively small fee for this service. Either parent (the payor or the recipient) can sign up for the service provided they meet the eligibility criteria.

A parent can apply to the court to vary either a court order or a written agreement between the parents with respect to child support if there has been a change in circumstances. If one parent has been paying child support based on a verbal agreement between the parents and the parents are unable to agree with respect to a variation, then one parent will need to apply for a court order for child support (this is not a variation application).

What Counts As A Change In Circumstances? 

A change in circumstances that will prompt the court to vary a child support order can include:

  • a child turning 18 (or 22 if they are still in school)
  • a change in parenting arrangements (this could include a child switching from living with both parents equally to spending the majority of the time with one parent or a child moving out to attend college)
  • a change in a parent’s employment such as a job loss, retirement or a change in career that results in a permanent change in income
  • travel costs associated with access if one parent moves the children farther away
  • an unanticipated change in special or extraordinary expenses for a child (such as health care expenses that were unforeseen at the time the original child support order was made).  

Making An Application To Vary A Child Support Order

When you apply to the court to vary a child support order, you must provide the court with the documents they need to make an informed decision. These will likely be the same documents you had to provide when you obtained your original court order and include:

  • income tax returns and notices of assessment for the last three years
  • pay stubs or documentation relating to the current year’s income
  • receipts for extraordinary expenses
  • your original order or agreement with respect to child support.


Contact Our Edmonton Family Law Lawyers Today For Legal Help


One of our Edmonton family law lawyers can help you figure out the best way to proceed with your application. Contact us or speak with a member of our legal team today by dialling (587) 410-2500 to discuss how to apply for a variance for child support in Alberta. 


*Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not intended to act as legal advice; it merely provides a general overview of the legal topic. For advice regarding your legal matter, please consult with an Edmonton family law lawyer.

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