Families can be spread over many provinces and countries. When family law issues arise in these cases, questions can arise as to where the proper forum is to resolve the issues. Interjurisdictional issues can arise where a child support payor lives in a different jurisdiction than the recipient, where children live in more than one province or where spouses own property in different countries.

Interjurisdictional issues are complex and are heavily fact-driven. Various statutes such as the Children’s Law Reform Act and the Family Law Act, as well as judicial decisions, outline rules for determining what the proper jurisdiction is and what the law is applicable to resolving the family law dispute.

Jurisdictional questions not only affect how rights and obligations are determined, but also how they can be enforced. Many jurisdictions (both within Canada and outside Canada) have entered into agreements and treaties that allow for orders made in one jurisdiction to be enforced in other jurisdictions.