HIGHLAND LAW is a law firm in Surrey, British Columbia.
Parental responsibilities remain even when a couple decides to split up. Each parent has the financial obligation to support their children and in some cases, this can be done with the payment of child support. Often, children primarily live in the home with one parent for the majority of the time while the other parent will pay child support. The number of children, the income of the payor, and the province in which the payor resides are major determinants in the support payment calculation. Guidelines to help determine the child support amount fall under federal and provincial law.
Federal Child Support Guidelines determine the amount of child support that is expected to be paid. The income used is set out in line 150 of the parent’s most recent tax return. Payments can be adjusted annually based on the most recent tax return. Additional costs like healthcare, educational activities, extracurricular activities, and childcare are also taken into consideration when calculating child support. A court will evaluate a custody agreement and visitation schedule to determine the time that a child will spend with each parent.
In cases of shared custody agreements where both parents have an equal amount of time with the children, child support is handled differently. Neither parent may be required to pay child support if a child spends 40% of time or more with each parent. In some cases, the parent with higher income would pay an amount to the other parent. For joint or sole custody agreements where the child is with a non-custodial parent for less than 40% of the time, the parent will need to pay child support.
In BC, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) can enforce a child support agreement. The FMEP helps collect and track agreements even if the payor or recipient lives outside of BC. If the payor doesn’t pay child support, the FMEP can help get your money and can take certain actions against the payor such as cancelling a driver’s licence or denying a passport.
Although there are guidelines that have been set by the government in regards to child support payments, there are some issues that can be addressed with the help of a lawyer such as establishing a parent’s income, calculating child support in shared-parenting situations, additional support for extraordinary expenses, and enforcing payments. If you want to make an agreement, a lawyer can help you work out what’s fair. For advice on child support payments contact Highland Law.