British Columbia parents may be interested in some information regarding child support payments beyond those mandated by the federal child support guidelines. These expenses can cover a number of things to support the child, including medical expenses and other important costs.
While the federal child support guidelines outline a child support formula that covers a child’s everyday expenses, certain costs may be considered “special expenses” and require a separate agreement between the parents. According to the guidelines, special expenses are those beyond the basic child support that are necessary in order to support the best interests of the child and that are considered reasonable given the financial status of the parents. For this second definition, the expenses must be similar to those that were made prior to the parental separation.
Examples of reasonable special expenses include medical and dental insurance, child care expenses and extracurricular activities. Primary, secondary and post-secondary education expenses may also be considered reasonable special expenses. The parents are usually tasked with agreeing on what special expenses are allowed. The child support agreement between the parents can even anticipate special expenses that will begin at a later time in the child’s life. If the parents cannot agree on special expenses, however, they may appeal to a judge or take the dispute to a mediator or lawyer for assistance.
Due to the fact-specific nature of child support issues, this post should not be taken as legal advice. Understanding the legal aspects of child support can be difficult without the assistance of a lawyer who may be able to analyze the client’s financial situation and determine what a fair child support agreement would look like. The lawyer may then be helpful in negotiating this agreement with the other parent.
Source: Department of Justice, “The Federal Child Support Guidelines: Step-by-Step,” Accessed March 5, 2015
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