Child support is for the benefit of the child. The purpose of child support is to ensure that children continue to benefit from the financial means of both parents after they have separated.
Child support is calculated based on the payor’s gross annual income. There are Federal Child Support Tables which are used to determine the amount of child support payable. These tables were updated in November 2017. Therefore, in order to determine how much child support is owed for a period between December 31, 2011 until November 21, 2017, the previous 2011 Tables should be used, and the updated 2017 Federal Tables should be used to determine child support owed from November 22, 2017 onward. Under certain circumstances, the court also has discretion to deviate from these table amounts. Courts may also impute income to a parent for the purposes of determining the payable child support. Essentially, this means that the court can set a guideline income for a parent based on what the it thinks the payor is capable of and should be earning. There are various factors which are taken into consideration when determining imputed income.
Child support is payable until the child reaches age of majority, which in British Columbia is 19. However, child support may still be payable for children over the age of majority if the child remains a child of marriage as defined by the Divorce Act. This includes if a child cannot obtain basic necessities of life due to illness, disability or other causes which include attending post-secondary schooling.
In addition to the basic guideline child support, parents are also responsible to pay monies towards the child’s other expenses. These are referred to as special expenses or section 7 expenses and include expenses such as day care, extra-curricular activities and medical/dental premiums. These expenses are generally shared between parents in proportion to their annual income. In determining what can be included as a special expense, various factors are considered including, whether the expense is necessary and reasonable; whether the parents can afford it; and whether the expense existed at the time the parents separated.
Factors which may vary the amount of child support payable include the amount of parenting time; if there are any claims of undue hardship; changes in income; or previous outstanding child support payments. It is best obtain legal advice in order to determine whether you are paying or receiving the appropriate amount of child support and special expenses for your child.
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