When couples with children get a divorce, two important matters that they often have to settle are who will pay child support and what the monthly payment amount will be. Child support payments are meant to ensure that both parents of a child help cover the cost of the child’s financial needs, including food, residence, health care and education.
In British Columbia, the amount of child support that the payor provides each month is based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines and federal tables. The tables make it easy for divorcing parents to see how much child support payments are likely to be based on how many children they have and their annual gross income.
For example, a paying parent with one child and an annual gross income of $50,000 could pay $458 per month. If the annual gross income is more than $50,000, the excess is multiplied by 0.96 percent and added to the $458. In the case of an annual gross income of $50,500, for instance, the payor may owe an additional $4.80 for a total monthly payment of $462.80.
However, judges may consider lowering child support orders in certain circumstances, such as when the payor is a step-parent, when the child lives with the paying parent 40 percent of the time, if the annual gross income of one parent is more than $150,000, or if the child is 19 or older and not a full-time student.
Another consideration that could change the amount is proof from the payor that the suggested child support payment would cause undue hardship. Judges could also consider a different child support order if one parent claims extraordinary or special expenses, such as private school, post-secondary education, tutoring, child care or health care.
The idea behind child support laws is to ensure that both parents of a child share in financially caring for their offspring as they would if they lived together. It is a child’s right to receive child support, and a court is unlikely to support an agreement that one parent does not have to pay.
Source: Family Law in British Columbia, “Child support“, August 14, 2014
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