Changing circumstances may justify child support modification
British Columbia authorities recognize the fact that circumstances change in the lives of divorced parents and allow them to petition the court to make certain modifications under complex child custody rights. If a parent who has to pay child support becomes unemployed has significant unanticipated medical expenses or for any other reason becomes unable to comply with a child support order, he or she may seek a modification of the court order. However, this is not easy, and it will require ample proof to be provided to substantiate a claim of undue hardship.
Another instance that may lead to a request to end child support is when a child becomes self-sufficient. British Columbia regards children to be old enough to care for themselves once they turn 19 years old. That is called the age of majority, and a parent’s child support obligations typically end at that time. Some circumstances may require the continuation of child support payments beyond a child’s 19th birthday. These include a child that continues to be a full-time scholar or one who is ill or disabled.
However, the court will allow child support payments to stop before the age of majority if he or she becomes independent and no longer needs parental care. Such circumstances could include the child moving in with somebody who provides for him or her, or if the child leaves the family home with no inclination to return. A child who lives separately and has employment that enables him or her to live without financial assistance from his or her parents before turning 19 is independent, and the court may cancel the child support order.
A British Columbia parent who has a court-ordered child support responsibility may not decide to stop paying without the court’s permission. For any changes to child support, or to cease payments, the parent must go to court and provide substantiating proof that a child has become independent or that changed circumstances would cause undue hardship if child support payments continue. This is a complicated field of the law, and the support of an experienced family law lawyer, like Laughlin Law, may ease the process and lead to an acceptable new arrangement.
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Source: bc.familieschange.ca, “Are there exceptions to how much a parent has to pay?“, Accessed on June 30, 2017