Divorcing or separating can be difficult, particularly when there are children. If you’re a divorcing or separating parent in British Columbia, it’s important to understand the child support obligations that apply to you.


Who Pays Child Support?

When one parent has primary custody of a child, the other parent must pay child support. In cases where the child splits their time equally (or almost equally) between parents, the parent with the higher income must pay child support to the other – though typically at a reduced rate.

Child support payments ensure both parents contribute financially to their child’s upbringing.


What Are the Different Types of Child Support?

There are several variations of child support applicable in BC. They include:


Basic Child Support

This is the most common type of support payment. It’s based on the paying parent’s income and the number of children. The Federal Child Support Guidelines use a formula for calculating support payments to determine the amount of basic child support required.

The court may deviate from the guideline amount of child support in certain circumstances, such as when:

  • The child is over 19 years old
  • The child is a stepchild
  • The paying parent has custody for more than 40% of the time, including waking and sleeping hours
  • The paying parent is experiencing undue hardship due to the relationship


Special or Extraordinary Expenses

This refers to additional amounts owed for a child under a maintenance order or agreement.

Additional costs include childcare, medical, educational and travel expenses for visitation and extracurricular activities. The paying parent may be required to contribute a portion of these expenses.

For expenses to fall into this category, they must be reasonable and necessary. Expenses viewed as unnecessary are not allowed. For example, daycare expenses are typically reasonable and necessary if both parents work, but if free childcare is available from grandparents, then daycare expenses may be unnecessary.


Retroactive Child Support

This kind of child support is payable for a period before a child support order is issued. This situation may arise if the paying parent didn’t make support payments while separated or the child support order was backdated.


BC allows retroactive child support for up to three years or more based on the case details.


Your Divorce Lawyers in Surrey

A parent can claim undue hardship if they cannot pay the required child support. In this situation, the court may order a lower amount or waive the support payments altogether.


At Highland Law, we provide the guidance you need to navigate your separation or divorce and child support obligations.

Call us at 778-591-5888 or complete our contact form to book an appointment.