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Understanding Child Support Laws in British Columbia

Child Support Laws in British Columbia: Understanding Your Obligations and Options

As a parent, you have a legal obligation to provide upkeep for your child. This obligation does not end once your child turns 19.

In fact, as long as your child is still dependant and financially disadvantaged, you are required to continue providing support. In British Columbia, child support is governed by federal guidelines and provincial laws that take into account the child’s best interest.

In this article, we will explore the various aspects of child support laws in British Columbia, including calculating your obligation, legal options for children and parents, penalties for failing to provide upkeep, and reducing your child support obligation.

Obligation to Provide Upkeep

Your obligation to provide upkeep for your child is based on several factors, including your financial resources and the child’s needs. In general, the higher-earning parent is responsible for paying support.

However, both parents have a legal obligation to contribute to the child’s wellbeing. Under the Family Law Act, your child’s eligibility for child support depends on their status as a “child of the marriage.” This includes children who are biological or adopted and those born out of wedlock.

The status of the child is not affected by custody arrangements or the parent’s marital status. Your obligation to provide upkeep for your child may continue beyond age 19 if your child is still dependant and financially disadvantaged.

For example, if your child is attending post-secondary education or has a disability, you may still be required to provide support.

Calculation of Obligation

The calculation of your child support obligation is based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines provide a formula for calculating child support based on factors such as the paying parent’s income and the number of children involved.

The calculation is done using a software program that takes into account any applicable deviation from the guidelines. The courts may also consider factors such as undue hardship or the increased parenting time of the paying parent in deviating from the guidelines.

However, any deviation must be in the best interest of the child.

Legal Options for Children

In British Columbia, children have legal options when it comes to child support. If the paying parent is not providing sufficient support, children may sue for support.

However, suing for support can be expensive and time-consuming. Another option for children is to enter into a Youth Agreement, which is a written agreement between the child and the paying parent that outlines the terms of support.

Youth Agreements can be made with the assistance of a lawyer or without one. Youth Agreements can be enforced by a court if either party fails to comply.

Children in British Columbia also have the option of becoming a guardian to their younger siblings if their parents are unable to provide adequate care. Children over the age of 12 can request the court to appoint them as guardians.

Finally, if a child leaves home before reaching age 19, the paying parent may still be required to provide financial support. In this case, the paying parent may enter into an agreement or seek a court order to ensure the child’s wellbeing.

Legal Options for Parents

Parents in British Columbia also have legal options when it comes to child support. If the child is below age 19, and the parents are living together, they may enter into an agreement or seek a court order to get legally married.

This can provide stability for the child and ensure that both parents have equal legal responsibility. If a child leaves home before reaching age 19, the paying parent may still be required to provide financial support.

In this case, the paying parent can enter into an agreement or seek a court order to ensure the child’s wellbeing.

Penalties for Failure to Provide Upkeep

Parents who fail to provide upkeep for their child may face serious consequences. A child support order is a legally-binding agreement, and failing to comply with it can result in legal action being taken against the paying parent.

Those actions may include wage garnishment, property liens, and imprisonment. Out-of-court agreements can also be enforced through the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP).

The FMEP is a provincial government program that is responsible for enforcing out-of-court support orders. If the paying parent fails to comply with an FMEP agreement, they may face legal action.

Reducing Child Support Obligation

In some cases, parents in British Columbia may be able to reduce their child support obligation. This can be done through an application for undue hardship, which takes into account factors such as the paying parent’s income, expenses, and any special needs of the child.

Other factors that may reduce your child support obligation include increased parenting time, a change in income or the custodial arrangement, and mediation or litigation to review the existing agreement.

Conclusion

In British Columbia, child support is governed by federal guidelines and provincial laws that are designed to ensure the best interest of the child. Parents have an obligation to provide upkeep for their child, and failure to do so can result in serious consequences.

Children have legal options when it comes to child support, including suing for support, entering into a Youth Agreement, and becoming a guardian to younger siblings. Parents can also enter into agreements or seek court orders to ensure the child’s wellbeing.

In some cases, parents may be able to reduce their child support obligation by seeking an application for undue hardship or through mediation or litigation. Understanding your obligations and options when it comes to child support can help ensure the wellbeing of your child and avoid any legal repercussions.

Applying for and Enforcing Child Support in British Columbia: A Comprehensive Guide

Child support is a legal obligation required by parents to provide financial assistance to their children. The law is meant to ensure that dependent children do not face hardships or disadvantages due to their parent’s separation or divorce.

In British Columbia, child support is governed by federal guidelines and provincial laws. In this expanded article, we will explore the process of applying for child support, the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) for enforcing child support, the criminal offense for non-payment in Canada, and how to end child support obligation.

Applying for Child Support

Applying for child support can be done by the natural parent or guardian of the child, who is eligible to receive the support payment. If the child has a stepparent, they may also be held liable for child support in some situations.

Parents who have joint custody may have to negotiate who will receive child support. In some cases, you may have made an informal agreement with your ex-partner about child support.

However, it is important to note that a verbal agreement is not legally binding, and you may need to seek a formal court order or enter into a written agreement to ensure payments. To apply for child support, complete the Child Support Application Form available on the Ministry of Justice website.

This application form requests information such as your income, your ex-partner’s income, the type of custody agreement, and the child’s living arrangements. Once the application is completed, it must be filed with the court registry and served to your ex-partner.

If you do not know their address, you may need to use a professional process server or the local sheriff’s service. After being served, your ex-partner will have a specific time frame to respond to the application and provide their own financial information.

FMEP for Enforcing Child Support

The Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) is a provincial government program that enforces both court orders and informal agreements for child support payments. The program’s goal is to encourage timely and consistent payment of child support.

If your ex-partner fails to make the court-ordered payments, you can contact the FMEP to enforce the payment through various methods. They can request wage garnishment, seek government seizure of tax returns or other refunds, or even revoke or deny your ex-partner’s passport.

In extreme cases, the FMEP can seize personal property or bank accounts of the paying party. In addition, the FMEP can also initiate legal action by filing a contempt of court charge against your ex-partner.

Criminal Offense for Non-Payment in Canada

Failure to pay child support can lead to serious legal consequences. In Canada, the “willful failure to pay” child support is considered a criminal offense and is punishable by imprisonment.

The law aims to ensure access to child support payments, and any parent who deliberately avoids providing financial assistance to their dependent children can face jail time for up to two years. This is more likely to occur in situations where the paying parent evades child support, such as working under the table or hiding assets.

Ending Child Support Obligation

Child support obligations usually end when the child reaches the age of majority (19 years in British Columbia). However, parents with children who have special needs that limit their ability to support themselves may have the obligation to provide child support even after they have reached the age of majority.

Parents can agree to end their child support obligation by entering into a written agreement or obtaining a parental order from the court. Terminating child support may also occur when a parent gives up their parental rights, or when a parent loses their rights to custody and access due to their misbehavior or abuse.

A Youth Agreement can also be used to end child support obligation. A Youth Agreement is a written agreement between the parents or guardians and the child, outlining the terms of support.

The agreement may be used to outline the conditions for when child support would end and what expenses it covers.

Conclusion

Child support is essential to ensure that a child’s basic needs are met, regardless of the parents’ marital status or living arrangements. Applying for, enforcing, and ending child support in British Columbia requires knowledge of the law, the application process, the FMEP program, and other legal practices.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your child’s well-being and financial security, as well as avoid legal trouble and financial hardship. Child support is a crucial aspect of ensuring the financial stability and well-being of children in British Columbia.

It is important for parents to understand their obligations, which extend beyond the age of 19 if the child is still dependent and financially disadvantaged. Applying for child support through the proper channels, such as the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), is essential to enforce payment and hold non-compliant parents accountable.

Failure to provide child support can have severe consequences, including criminal charges and imprisonment. Ending child support obligations can be achieved through legal processes, such as obtaining a parental order or entering into a Youth Agreement.

With this information, parents can navigate child support laws in British Columbia and ensure the best interests of their children are met.

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