How Child Support Works

Unlike other aspects of splitting up, child support will be determined based on the Child Support Guidelines (CSG). These guidelines help parents calculate support according to their gross incomes. While this makes the process straightforward, it also leaves little wiggle room for negotiation for those with less than $150,000 in income per annum.

In the eyes of the law, receiving financial support is a child's right and a parent's obligation. You cannot bargain away your obligation to pay child support. The Courts have and often will enforce a child's right to be financially supported, even if you have an existing agreement with your partner saying otherwise.

Therefore, even with the CSG, having a skilled lawyer is crucial to understanding how child support will work for your case. At Westside Family Law, we help families in Vancouver understand how the CSG applies to their family's finances. Our lawyers work toward agreements that meet the requirements of the law and satisfy all parties.

Child Support For Higher Income Earners

Parents who have worked hard to provide for their children often have unique concerns when it comes to understanding the CSG. For example, parents may question who will cover the costs of private school tuition, extracurricular activities or international vacations to which the children have become accustomed.

In terms of the law, the parameters of the CSG apply to families of all income levels. In terms of applying the law, however, parents with high incomes may have more flexibility when negotiating child support or seeking a Court order. Our lawyers can help you anticipate these unique cost considerations and work toward solutions that preserve your children's well-being.

What If We Share Custody? Who Pays Then?

Child support is the child's right, so if parents share parenting time equally, they or the Court may offset child support according to each person's income. After determining the amount each parent would owe based on income per the CSG, the parent owing more would offset the cost by paying the difference to the parent with the lesser payment. For example, if the CSG determines the mother owes $400 per month and the father $300 per month, the mother would pay the father $100 per month in child support.

Offsetting child support is one option among many for determining equitable child support payments. Your best option is to speak with one of Westside's lawyers about your circumstances and concerns. We can help you work out a satisfactory agreement or represent your interests before the Court, should it come to that.

What About Paying For Extracurricular Activities?

Anyone with children knows that the costs of raising a child seemingly never stop. Under Section 7 of the CSG, both parents are expected to pay a proportionate share of "special or extraordinary expenses" in addition to monthly support. These expenses include:

  • Day care, nanny fees or after-school programs that allow a parent to earn income
  • Orthodontic braces and other dental or health care needs beyond the coverage of extended health insurance
  • Extracurricular activities like hockey, piano, gymnastics, horse riding or skiing, for example, that are of benefit to a child's development

The nature and scope of these expenses will naturally vary from family to family. What qualifies as a "special expense" in one family may not be in another, depending on the amount of child support paid and the family's lifestyle during the marriage or relationship.

How Long Will I Pay Child Support?

Answers to this question vary widely in today's society, where children continue to live at home due to unemployment, high tuition costs and various other concerns. Traditionally, the "cut off" point has been 19 to 24 years of age, but this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Parents may still be required to pay child support for adult children if they:

  • Cannot take care of themselves due to an illness or disability
  • Still depend on parents for "necessities" like room and board due to unemployment or underemployment
  • Are pursuing training such as a trade, certification or a degree which hampers their ability to work to support themselves

We Offer Insight And Practical Advice

All of these issues are worth discussing with your lawyer and your former spouse if you can. Negotiation, mediation and collaborative law all allow parents to negotiate terms that align with Section 7 requirements but also their own household budgets. Taking such matters to Court is also a possibility, though no guarantees can be made with the outcomes there, since it will be up to a judge to make a final determination based on his or her perception of the facts.

We offer insight, backed by practical experience, helping families in all stages of relationships, new and old, ending or just beginning. Contact us by calling 604-800-8853 or by email to discuss your child support concerns today.