Child Support BC
What is Child Support?
Also sometimes called “child maintenance,” child support is money paid from one parent to another to help with the expenses of raising a child. Usually child support is paid from one parent, to the other parent, or guardian, with whom a child resides for the majority of the time.
Parents are legally obligated to provide financial support for their children, and a separated couple with children will not be granted a divorce until or unless the Supreme Court of British Columbia is satisfied that reasonable child support arrangements are in place.
There are certain exceptions regarding the obligation to pay child support; for example if a person is strictly a sperm or egg donor, he or she is not necessarily considered to be a ‘parent’ and he or she will under no obligation to pay child support.
Child support is meant to assist with the day-to-day costs of raising a child, including expenses such as:
- Personal care (haircuts, hygiene products, etc.)
Special or Extraordinary Expenses
In addition to basic child support, a parent is also often required to pay an additional sum of money to for “special or extraordinary” expenses that fall outside of everyday child-raising expenses but are deemed reasonable or necessary for a child’s safety, education, or wellbeing. These expenses will be determined differently for every individual family and their specific circumstances, but sometimes include costs associated with healthcare, tutoring, daycare, or extracurricular activities.
For more information, contact our team.
Agreement or Court Order
A child support agreement or court order is a legally binding document that lays out the amount of child support a parent is obligated to pay. You do not need to go to court, if you and the other parent can agree on the amount of child support, however; it is important that you file your agreement with the court so that it can be legally enforced should the need arise.
When determining the amount of child support to be paid, both parents must disclose each source of income. Failure to do so can result in income being “imputed” to the payor parent.
If the two parties have a dispute and a child support arrangement cannot be agreed upon, one party can apply for a court order for child support payment. In this scenario, it is essential to always consult a lawyer before applying for a court order in order to make sure that the request is reasonable and likely to be approved. For more information, contact us.
How Much Does Child Support Cost?
The cost of child support differs and will be determined based on the payor’s income, how many children they have, and what province they live in.
If there is a significant change in circumstances, either parent can apply to have the child support agreement or order varied accordingly, which may result in a different amount of child support being paid going forward. Contact our lawyers for help determining child support or amending an existing agreement.
How Long is Child Support Paid for?
Child support is automatically paid up until a child turns 19. Child support is sometimes required after age 19 if the child is unable to financially provide for themselves for a valid reason, such as illness, disability, or attending school full time.
There are some special circumstances when a parent is not required to pay child support to a child under 19 years of age, such as if the child gets married before age 19 or does not want a relationship with the parent in question.
What if Child Support isn’t Paid?
It is important to file your child support agreement with the courts to ensure that it is enforceable if at any point the payor refuses to provide child support.
If a legal obligation to pay child support was not met, the court can order that money to be paid after the fact. This is called a Retroactive Child Support Order. For help obtaining a retroactive order, get in touch with Thomas & Associates by filling out our contact form.
GK Thomas & Associates is Here to Help
If you need help obtaining a child support order, creating a child support agreement, or understanding your obligations surrounding child maintenance, our lawyers at GK Thomas and Associates have the expertise to help.
With 38 years of combined experience in family law, our lawyers have seen every type of child-support situation. We understand how important your family is to you and we are dedicated to making sure that in every child-support arrangement we work on, the child’s well-being is put first.