How is Child Support Calculated in BC?

Family Lawyer | July 6, 2023 | Written by Crystal Arbour

Child support is an essential financial obligation separated or divorced parents must provide for their children. In British Columbia, the Family Law Act requires parents to pay child support based on their income and the number of children they have. As experts in family law, the expert team from Linley Welwood understands that calculating child support can be a complex and emotionally charged process. That is why we have compiled some helpful information on how child support is calculated in BC.

Key Factors Considered in the Child Support Process

Several factors can affect how much a parent needs to pay for child support, such as:

1. Determining Income

Each parent’s gross income, including all income sources such as employment earnings, self-employment income, rental income, and investment dividends, will first need to be determined. Certain deductions, such as union dues and employment-related expenses, will then be removed from the gross income. The remaining amount, known as the net income, will be used to calculate child support payments.

2. Applying Child Support Tables

Once both parents’ incomes have been determined, the next step is applying the appropriate child support tables provided by the government. In British Columbia, child support calculations are primarily based on the Child Support Tables, which outline the basic amount of child support that should be paid depending on the payor’s income and the number of children they have. These tables consider factors such as the number and ages of children involved and their special needs.

3. Additional Expenses and Special Circumstances

In addition to the basic child support amount, additional expenses may need to be considered. These expenses could include extraordinary healthcare costs, childcare expenses, and educational expenses. The court may allocate these additional costs between the parents based on their income and ability to pay.

Special circumstances like shared parenting time or undue hardship can also affect child support calculations. Shared parenting arrangements where children spend significant time with each parent may result in adjustments to the basic support amount.

4. Deviations From Guidelines

In some cases, the court may deviate from the child support guidelines if there are exceptional circumstances. Factors such as the child’s needs, the standard of living the child was accustomed to before the separation, and each parent’s financial resources and obligations may be considered. For example, if one parent has significant debts or expenses related to caring for the child, this may be considered when calculating child support. Similarly, if one parent has a significantly higher income than the other, adjustments may need to be made to ensure that both parents contribute to their child’s care.

5. Legal Assistance and Mediation

Determining child support can be complex, especially when parents have unique circumstances or disputes. It is advisable to seek legal assistance from a family lawyer specializing in child support cases. Mediation can also be a helpful process for parents to reach a mutually agreeable child support arrangement outside of court.

If you want to know more about our family law services, do not hesitate to contact the team at Linley Welwood today to learn how child support is calculated in BC. You can contact us through our online form, and we will be pleased to respond to any queries you may have about our services or your particular situation.

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