Understanding Child Support in British Columbia

Parents must provide adequate support for their children up to the age of 19. Additionally, the parents may also have to provide support to children above the age of 19 if the child depends on the parent. Adequate support for a child means ensuring that the child is cared for, is educated, is healthy, and that the child’s other relevant needs are achieved.

It is almost always the case that one parent must pay child support to the other parent. An exception to child support may occur when there is a shared parenting regime and both parents’ incomes are equal or if the payment of child support results in financial hardship to a parent.

If both parents can agree, an agreement can be drafted relating to child support with additional clauses that allow for reevaluation or expected expenses. However, if the parents cannot come to a consensus, a parent can make an application to the courts for child support.

A judge may order one spouse to pay the other spouse child support in the range set out in the Child Support Guidelines. Although not binding, judges generally adhere to the guidelines when making orders. Factors that impact child support payment include the incomes of the parents, the number of children, the care plan, and the province you reside in.

If a spouse breaches the agreement and fails to pay child support, or if a spouse fails to follow a court order to pay child support, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program may seize income directly from the spouse’s assets, file a lien against any property in their name, or instruct ICBC not to renew the spouse’s driver license until payment has been made in full.

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