Final ordrd

When a family law final order is changed, does the first one become void or is it still applicable?

Asked 6 months ago in Ontario
Categories: Family Law

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John  P. Schuman, C.S.

Answer by John P. Schuman, C.S.

VerifiedOntario lawyer

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. 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.   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 by speaking to a lawyer.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

Posted 6 months ago

John Schuman is a Certified Specialist in Family Law.  He is the partner managing the Family Law Group at Devry Smith Frank LLP, a full service law firm located near Eglinton and the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto. Learn more about John! Call him at 416-446-5080 or 416-446-5847 or email Listen to the Ontario Family Law Podcast!

Please note that this is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice to you. Legal advice pertaining to your particular situation can only be provided by a lawyer who has met with you to obtain all pertinent background information necessary to give you a formal legal opinion. For formal legal advice, hire a lawyer (many give a free first consultation). Contact John P. Schuman, C.S., or search the Lawyer Directory.

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