If you can't agree with the other party

How to set aside all or part of an agreement

Before using these guides

The courts can’t change a family agreement. But you can ask them to replace all or part of one with a new court order (to set aside an agreement).

Staying out of court

Before you start using these guides, think about your situation. Is it possible that you and the other party can agree about your issues? You could use the same process you used to reach your original agreement or try something else. See our fact sheet Who can help you reach an agreement?

If you can agree, you won't have to go to court, and a judge or master won't have to set aside your agreement. You can make a new agreement instead.

Also, it's a good idea to consider the guidelines a judge must follow to decide whether to set aside all or part of an agreement and make a new order. A judge won't do so just because one party isn't happy with the agreement. The chart below sets out what the judge must consider, depending on the issue involved.

Type of agreement Guidelines for judges
Guardianship, parental responsibilities, and parenting time Is the existing agreement in the best interests of the child?
Contact with a child Is the existing agreement in the best interests of the child?
Child support Would the new order follow the rules in section 150 of the Family Law Act?
Spousal support
  • Was the process used for making the agreement unfair? For example, did one spouse not share financial information or take advantage of the other spouse’s vulnerability? Or did one spouse not understand what they were signing?

OR

  • Is the existing agreement itself unfair because circumstances have changed or for one of the other reasons listed in section 164(5) of the Family Law Act?

If you must go to court — Choose Provincial or Supreme Court

You can apply to set aside all or part of an agreement, if you:

  • have tried to resolve your issues on your own but can't,
  • have tried to resolve your issues with the help of a mediator or other service but can't, or
  • don't think it'll be possible to resolve your issues.

You must apply in the court where the agreement was originally filed: either the Provincial (Family) Court of British Columbia or the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Select a link below to go to the appropriate self-help guide.