Child support is providing financial support for raising, maintenance and opportunities for a child after the parents separate. Child support comes in many different forms and varies from situations to situation. In BC family law, the parent who has primary residence of the child has the right to obtaining financial support for raising the child, when the marriage or relationship breaks down. Child support is often determined based on each parents’ incomes, and tries to provide a reasonable standard of living for the child, based on those incomes.
In this article, our Vancouver child support lawyers explain how support is calculated, and how to obtain it.
What Does Child Support Pay For?
It depends on whether it is basic child support or special and extraordinary expenses for the child. Both of these types of expenses likely apply to your situation. I will explain these concepts below:
What Does Basic Child Support Pay For?
Basic support in BC pays for the following expenses for the child which are determined based on incomes and a formula, payable often on a monthly basis:
- Hair cair
- Parties and special occasions, movie tickets, park tickets, zoo tickets, etc.
In addition, BC child support also comes in the form of special or extraordinary expenses which pay for:
- Child Care
- Any expenses arising from the primary parent’s employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment. These including baby sitting, private care, etc.
- Tuition and books
- Extracurricular Activities
- Medical and Dental Expenses
- Sometimes, physiotherapy, eye care, skin care, massage, psychologists, dance, swimming, gymnastics, hockey, classes, field trips, camping, etc.
How Do the Courts Determine Child Support?
There are two different formulas that determine the amount of child support for 1) basic child support and 2) special and extraordinary expenses.
How to Determine Amount Basic Child Support in BC:
The monthly child support that pays for basic expenses such and food, shelter and the other expenses stated above is determined based on two things: 1) the amount of time the child spends with each parent and 2) one or both parents’ incomes:
- If the child spends over 60% of his/her time with a parent, then only the other parents’ income matters for determining basic child support. So if you earn $1,000,000 and have the child with you over 60% and the other parent earns $20,000 a year. The other parent will have to pay you support based on $20,000 of income per annum. Your income won’t matter.
- If the child spends more than 40% of his/her time with each parent, both your incomes will matter. They will often be set against one other and the parent who makes more money will have to pay support. So if you have the child in your care 50% of the time and you earn $1,000,000 per year and the other parent earns $100,000, then you will need to pay support based on an income of $900,000.
How to Determine Special and Extraordinary Expenses:
Special or extraordinary expenses in British Columbia are paid for in proportionate shares of income. So regardless of whether you are a primary parent or not, you will share these expenses. Let’s say the child primary resides with you and you earn $50,000. Let’s say the other parent earns $100,000. In this situation, you pay for 33% of the extraordinary expenses and the other parent will pay for 66%.
How to Go About Getting Child Support in BC?
To get child support in BC, follow the below steps:
- Make a verbal request. If you and the other parent are amicable, all you have to do is to obtain the specific incomes of each other, and then go on the Child Support Calculator to determine the amount. In shared custody situations, go here to obtain the amount of support payable after the set off.
- If your can’t get child support by a casual request, make a request in writing for it and give the other parent a reasonable amount of time to negotiate the amount. Remember support is payable from the moment of separation so if it takes some time to negotiate child support, you can always seek retroactive child support.
- If you and the other parent cannot agree on the amount of support because, let’s say, the other parent has a business so the Notice of Assessment is not helpful, try to get a mediator or a lawyer to negotiate support on your behalf.
- If all mediation and negotiation fails, you can ask your BC child support lawyer to obtain a court order for support. But wait, you can do it yourself as well. Read below:
How To Get an Order for Child Support in BC?
To obtain an order for child support in British Columbia, you can make an application to obtain it both through the Supreme Court and the Provincial Court of BC:
Getting Child Support Through the Provincial Court of BC:
- Complete an Application to Obtain an Order and file it with the Provincial Court;
- Complete a Financial Statement at the same time and file and serve it on the other parent;
- The other parent will have about a month to respond to your Application and also serve you with his/her financial statement;
- You will then attend a “First Appearance” at the Provincial Court which often results you being able to obtain a hearing date to have your application heard;
- Attend the hearing and present proper evidence;
- Obtain the court order and make sure it is in writing, signed and filed with the court so if you need to enforce it in the future, you have proper paper trail.
Getting Child Support at the Supreme Court of BC:
- Complete and file a Notice of Family Claim and claim support (and other things if you want them);
- Serve the Notice of Family Claim on the other parent;
- You will both have about 30 days to complete your Financial Statements;
- Then you have to book a Judicial Case Conference through the Courts – this is a settlement/confidential conference where you, the other parent and the judge will sit together to see if you can settle;
- If there is no settlement, you can book a trial or set down an Application to obtain support.
- You will only have to give the other parent (usually) 8 business days’ notice before you go to get a court order for support;
- Present your evidence at the hearing and obtain support;
- Make sure the order is in writing, signed and filed with the court so if you need to enforce it later, you have proper documents.
YLaw does numerous simple and complex child support applications, and was able to obtain one of the highest child support amounts in British Columbia. Whether you need child support or do not want to pay as much as you have been asked to, it is always best to consult with our Vancouver Child Support lawyers to obtain your strategy, rights and remedies. Call us at 604-974-9529 or get in touch.