Child support is the amount of money to be paid for the support of the child or children. In general, if one guardian or parent has sole guardianship/custody of a child, the other parent or guardian will be obligated to pay full child support. In shared and split guardianship scenarios, the amount of child support payable by the higher income parent or guardian is generally the difference between the parent’s or guardian’s income.
Child Support is based on the federal Child Support Guidelines that is generally paid to children under the age of majority. The age of majority in BC is 19. The Guidelines determine the amount of child support payable based on the payor’s income and number of children child support is to be paid for. However, the court has discretion to award a different amount of child support in some specific circumstances such as where the payor may face undue hardship if ordered to pay the table amount.
Child support may still be payable even if the child is over the age of majority. For instance, a parent may be obligated to financially support a child attending university full-time. However, in such a scenario the parent may not be required to pay the regular table amount depending on his or her specific circumstances.
In cases where a child suffers from a physical or mental disability and may require medical care, the parent or guardian who is to pay child support may be ordered to pay a higher amount to compensate for higher expenditures.
Child support based on the Guidelines is the basic support payable towards childcare. It does not include s. 7 expenses, which is usually paid in addition to the table amount. Section 7 expenses include, but are not limited to, daycare costs, post-secondary expenses or extracurricular activities. These expenses must be reasonable and necessary. These determinations are very fact specific. Section 7 expenses are generally shared by both parents based on their proportionate incomes.
In order to adequately calculate the correct amount of child support in each case, it is important to have a good understanding of the circumstances of the child, access to financial documents from each party, and determine the payor’s income. Determination of income can be as straightforward as a look at the employment income on one party’s pay statement, or it can be more complicated, as in the case of a self-employed business owner. Gathering of proper information and documents is an important factor for your child support claim.
Getting or giving the proper amount of child support is so important for your peace of mind and the well being of your child or children. Ensure you are on the right track and seek legal help in case you have questions.