Vancouver Mandarin Chinese Child Support Lawyer

Vancouver Mandarin Chinese Child Support Lawyer

Vancouver Mandarin Chinese Child Support Lawyer Featured Image
Vancouver Mandarin Chinese Child Support Lawyer Featured Image

If you are seeking a divorce in British Columbia and you have minor children, then your divorce decree or settlement will have to include child support. 

This can be a daunting subject for our Chinese clients. Make sure you understand everything that’s going on with your child support agreement by reaching out to our law office. We speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, which means you can get help in the language you prefer.

Here’s everything you need to know about how child support works in British Columbia, and why it is necessary to have a child support lawyer by your side. 

Calculating Child Support in Vancouver

Child support is calculated according to the Federal Child Support Guidelines. These tables consider the income of the paying parent and the number of children, as well as the province or territory where the paying parent lives. 

The payee’s income makes no difference unless parents share joint physical and legal custody of the child (see below).

You can use the federal child support tool here.

At times, parents may make the case that the federal amount represents an undue hardship to the payor or, if too low, to the recipient. The courts will then compare the standard of living in each parent’s household and make a determination based on this comparison. 

The court may also order more child support when the payor earns more than $150,000 a year. The court is not going to allow the child to go to a big mansion when they go visit one parent and then return home to a one room apartment when they go back to the other. That sets up a power imbalance between the parents that the court finds unacceptable, and is not seen to be within the best interests of the child. 

Special Circumstances

Calculating child support is straightforward when both parents receive a regular, predictable paycheck. In those cases, there is usually very little to negotiate other than obtaining payments or reimbursements for special expenses.

Child support gets less straightforward when one of the parents is a business owner, when a parent works in sales, or when a parent is a freelancer. 

Variable income usually results in the courts averaging the income made over the course of three years. In some cases, the court will want to use a five-year average. If you are still in the negotiation phase of a divorce settlement, you and your spouse might be able to negotiate on which average you use, or split the difference with a four year average.

Special Expenses

Special and extraordinary expenses may include private school tuition, tutoring expenses, medical or dental premiums for the child, daycare expenses, post-secondary expenses, certain medical expenses, or unexpected medical expenses. These are known as Section 7 expenses.

These expenses must go above and beyond necessities, must be reasonable, and must be necessary.

Parents are required to share costs for special expenses. These expenses will often arise after the divorce decree is signed, and many parents simply agree to share them as they arise. However, if the other parent refuses to pay their share you may take them to court for a child support modification that will take these expenses into account. 

Sharing is not 50/50 but is based on proportion of income. The higher earning parent will usually be asked to pay a greater share of special expenses than the lower earning parent. The amount paid should be proportionate to the disparities in income. 

Child Support Modifications

Circumstances change. Either parent may lose jobs, change jobs, gain an illness or disability, or experience some other major change in their life. Some of those changes can make them eligible for a child support modification. 

This will require a Motion for Child Support Modification. The judge will have to be satisfied that these circumstances represent a true change, and that they did not come about as a result of your own efforts to increase or lower a child support obligation.

Child Support Enforcement

Your child support will be sealed by court order after your divorce and by an ex parte court order during your divorce. This means failing to pay is a crime: contempt of court. The province has many tools they can use to ensure child support gets paid.

This includes intercepting tax refunds and placing liens on assets. Your driver’s license and passport may be revoked or denied, which can be an especially large problem for Chinese businesspeople who need to do business across international lines, or who need to maintain their immigration status.

For the most part, it is wisest to pay child support as owed. 


Is child support mandatory in British Columbia?

Yes. Any divorce which includes child support must set a child support amount in their settlement. Your settlement may not set any amount lower than would be set by the Federal Child Support guidelines, though it may set a higher amount.

Parents, surrogates, donors, and stepparents may all be required to pay child support. Stepparents can be asked to pay if they provided support (usually while married to a parent) for at least one year, if that support established a certain standard of living for the child, and if the application for support is made within one year of the separation. 

How long does a parent have to pay child support in British Columbia? 

In British Columbia, parents are usually required to pay child support until the child turns 19. Children who remain dependent may require longer times. A child who is still in school or university is still dependent and so child support will continue until they graduate. 

Children with disabilities or illnesses that prevent them from becoming independent may need support for many years after, or for the rest of their lives. If you have a special-needs child it is vital that you make sure your lawyer understand the child’s care needs and expenses while putting your divorce settlement together. 

Can child support be waived in British Columbia?

No. Child support is the right of the child and is not considered to be a benefit paid to the parent. Parents further have the responsibility to support their child. 

If the child is with the other parent more than 60% of the time you can expect to pay the full amount of child support. 

Do you have to pay child support if you give up parental rights in Canada?

You cannot end your obligation to provide for your child financially by terminating parental rights. This is the child’s right, and it is completely unlinked to whether or not you choose to be involved in the child’s life or not. This is true even if you’ve never lived with the child or the other parent, even if you and the other parent were never married, and even if the divorce is not finalized. 

Terminating parental rights is usually done as an adverse action against parents who are abusive or neglectful, and the courts do not do it lightly. Nevertheless, it does not block the child’s right to support.

Do you have to pay child support if you have 50/50 custody in Canada? 

It depends. If you make more income than the other parent but have a joint custody arrangement the courts usually take the amount each of you would have to pay and then subtracts one from the other. The higher-earning parent then pays the lower earning parent. 

If your income is very similar neither parent might pay child support in a true 50/50 arrangement, or may pay such a negligible amount that it makes very little difference. 

When the child is with you, you are assumed to be supporting that child through the direct provision of food, water, shelter, and other necessities. 

These arrangements would be possible so long as the child spends at least 40% of the time with either parent. 

Do you have to pay child support if access rights are not being respected?

If your co-parent is refusing to give you access to your child during visitation time they are in violation of a court order. You can go to the court and ask them to enforce the order, but you cannot stop paying child support.

Child support and access are not linked to one another. This is not tit for tat: it is a set of obligations both you and the other parent share. 

The reverse is also true. The payee parent cannot deny access rights to a payor parent, even if they are behind on their child support obligations.

Get Help Today

Child support is only one piece of the puzzle when you’re getting a divorce. 

Our experienced family law lawyers have the tools and know-how to handle even the most complex divorce case. 

Chinese Lawyer Vancouver serves clients in Vancouver, Abbotsford, Langley, Surrey, and White Rock. Call to set up an appointment today.

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Please note: The information provided on this website is Not Legal Advice. The information may or may not be accurate. The information is for discussion purposes only. Reliance upon any information provided would not be grounds to advance a claim against Chinese Lawyer Vancouver for providing any advice. In order to get a formal legal opinion upon which you may rely about any specific fact scenario, you would have to first retain the services of a lawyer and request a formal legal opinion.