SARPA: A Low-Cost Way to Modify Your Support Payments

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The Service administrative de rajustement des pensions alimentaires pour enfants (SARPA or child support adjustment service) allows you to modify your support payments without going to court. The SARPA application fee was reduced on July 3, 2020. The government has also made it easier to qualify.

How to check if you qualify for SARPA

You can only use SARPA to modify your support payments if:

  • your child is less than 18 years old;
  • you have a child support judgment;
  • you and your ex live in Quebec; and
  • since the last judgment, you or your ex’s financial situation has changed, or the child’s situation has changed.

As of July 3, 2020, the SARPA application fee was reduced to $50 from $292. The application fee is non-refundable, even if your request is refused because you do not qualify. Applications to SARPA can be made by one or by both parents together.

Before applying, you can fill out a questionnaire (click on EN at the top right) to check if you qualify. You can also call 1-855-LeSARPA (1-855-537-2772).

Changing your support payments with SARPA without your ex’s consent

You do not always need to reach an agreement with your ex to modify your support payments using SARPA. Generally, you can modify your support payments without your ex’s consent if:

  • both parents are employed;
  • the salary of either parent has changed; and
  • you don’t have other sources of income.

For example, you can apply to SARPA without your ex’s consent if your income has decreased because you lost your job.

As of July 3, 2020, one parent can apply to SARPA without their ex’s consent even if one of the parents has $2,000 or less of taxable income from dividends, interest, or other investments. Before, parents with these types of income had to both agree to apply.

Changing your support payments with SARPA with consent

You can apply to SARPA to change your support payments with your ex’s consent in some cases. For example, either parent can apply if one parent’s income has decreased because of:

  • paid sabbatical or unpaid leave,
  • sabbatical leave with deferred pay,
  • change in work hours,
  • return to studies,
  • end of employment,
  • retirement, or
  • career change.

As of July 3, 2020, you can apply to SARPA if the reduction of income is 20% or less. However, you and your ex must agree on the income that will be used to calculate the new support payment.

If the reduction is more than 20%, you cannot apply to SARPA even if your ex consents. However, you can use the Homologation Assistance Service (HAS) to modify your support payments by consent. The HAS is a free or low-cost service offered by Legal Aid.

To learn more about the HAS, you can call 1 855-LeSARPA (1-855-537-2772).

Changing your support payments because of a maternal, paternal, or adoption leave

As of July 3, 2020, you can apply to SARPA to change your support payments if you or your ex’s income has decreased because of a maternal, paternal, or adoption leave. However, you must agree with your ex about the income that will be used to calculate the new support payments. If not, you must go to court.

Applying online

You can apply online by filling out this form (click on En at the top right).

Are you eligible for Legal Aid?

Eligible parents can apply to SARPA for free. Legal Aid can also provide a lawyer for free or at low cost. Your admissibility will be based upon your income and savings.

For more information: Legal Aid: Do I Qualify?