Ensure that child support agencies develop partnerships with court systems, welfare agencies, workforce development programs and local service providers to assist fathers to meet their financial obligations. Child support enforcement agencies were traditionally set up as cost-recovery agencies to reimburse the state for welfare payments. However, fewer than 15 percent of child support cases are currently receiving welfare assistance. Child support agencies were not designed initially to deal with low-income parents who were never married.
Include services and referrals for families regardless of their involvement with the public assistance program. Create customer service centers and web-based tools to allow fathers easier access to information about their case and the child support process. Continue to devise policies to serve both parents as a family unit regardless of their marital status. Current child support policy does not have effective mechanisms to distinguish fathers who evade paying support from those who would pay support if they had the resources.
Granting a downward modification to low-income fathers may make it easier for them to make continuous child support payments. Many fathers do not know they can ask for a modification, or what circumstances warrant a modification. Develop customer service lines that can answer basic questions regarding modification procedures.
Ensure that fathers are aware that they can ask for a modification if their economic situation changes. Ensure that agencies and courts have procedures to streamline the modification process. Fathers often receive default orders if they do not attend their court hearing. Fathers avoid these hearings because they are fearful that the child support system is only interested in punishing them.
Many child support orders for low-income men are set because of a default order that may not take into consideration the actual wage earnings of a father, resulting in an order that is set too high.
ODJFS Online | Office of Child Support
Insist that child support workers establish proactive procedures that encourage fathers to come forward before the agency enters default orders. Provide easy access to information about the child support system that helps both mothers and fathers navigate the court system. Inform fathers about their rights and the child support proceeding before their court date to eliminate any misperceptions that could discourage fathers from attending.
Pass-through collected support to families—states can count these expenditures in their maintenance of effort. Develop procedures that ensure welfare caseworkers adequately communicate the implications of assigning child support rights to the state in exchange for receiving welfare benefits.
Compromise arrearages past due payments of child support for fathers who demonstrate compliance with payment plans or employment requirements. The idea behind this is that you'll be sharing the costs of looking after your children in a way that's fair to you both. If you can't agree about child support in a shared parenting situation, a judge or master might figure out the amount using the steps above this is called the set-off or they might look at:.
Sometimes people make informal agreements about child support they basically sort out it themselves. For example, one person might just show their latest income tax return to prove how much they earn and nothing more. If you're working with a lawyer or mediator , you'll need to make a full disclosure of your financial information. No matter how you make your agreement, you and the other person have to share the law calls this disclosing all the important information you need to reach a fair outcome.
The Family Law Act calls this giving each other "full and true information. If you go to court, both the Supreme Court and the Provincial Court have rules about disclosing financial information. All payors and sometimes recipients must give proof of their income by filing a financial statement at the court registry. The rules about sharing financial information are there so that the court can make decisions about child support based on the facts about each person's income and not on what one person says.
If the other person doesn't share the information they're supposed to, you can ask the court to order them to share it. If they still don't share the information, the court can impute income to that person. If your child support order was made on or after May 1, , you don't pay income taxes on the child support you get. If you're the payor, you don't deduct your payments. For more information about income tax rules, see the Tax Matters Toolkit , an online resource from the Canadian Bar Association that explains the rules that apply when you separate or divorce, including child support rules.
People who get child support don't have to declare the child support payments they get as income child support isn't taxable. Payors of child support don't deduct child support from their income. Arrears are past support payments that haven't been paid. A judge or master can reduce or cancel arrears, but there has to be a very good reason for changing them. The Family Law Act says a judge can cancel or reduce arrears if it would be grossly unfair not to do so.
Child support. Print Forms Glossary Email. Provincial Court. This service: helps parents keep their child support amounts up to date without going back to court, ensures that recipients get the support the children are entitled to, and ensures that payors pay support that's appropriate for their income. CSRS accepts only income tax information as the source for up-to-date income information. What are the child support guidelines and how do they work? The amount is based on: how much the payor earns, how many children they have to support, and where they live.
The easiest way to work out how much child support the payor will have to pay is to use one of the Child Support Table Lookup tools: Use the Child Support Table Look-up to work out child support amounts set before November 22, Use the Child Support Table Look-up to work out child support amounts set on November 22, , or later. Each province and territory has its own table. However, s.
Section 3 b also says that an order can't be made against a stepparent until the stepparent and parent have separated. As you can see, these definitions cast a very wide net and it's fairly easy to qualify as a parent who must pay child support. A few important points come from the case law on these definitions:.
It isn't about the 'money' 'the real reasons behind child support'
On this last point, the factors a court will consider in deciding if a child 's academic career continues to qualify the child for support are the same factors listed under the Divorce Act above. The Family Law Act says that stepparents can be responsible for paying child support just as biological and adoptive parents are responsible for paying child support.
This has meant that in some cases, multiple people who meet the Act's definitions of parent and stepparent can be responsible for paying child support for the same child at the same time. In fact, there are a few cases in which parents have engaged in a number of long-term relationships, each of which were long enough to attract a child support obligation from the successive partners of those parents.
In this case , the parties had been married for less than three years when they separated. Each had been previously married, and the problem centered around the wife's child from a previous relationship and whether the husband should have to support the child. The court found that the husband, who qualified as a stepparent under the Act, was not responsible for paying support, because of the combined effect of the following factors:.
The Family Law Act helps to clear up some of these confusing issues. Section 5 says:. If a stepparent has a duty to provide support for a child under subsection 4 , the stepparent 's duty. In most cases, stepparents aren't let off the hook entirely. Most of the time, the court will take a biological or adoptive parent 's obligation into account when assessing child support against a stepparent , look at the obligation of any non- parent guardians, and require stepparents only to make a sort of top-up payment rather than pay the full amount required by the Guidelines.
Under s. The court may:. Before the court makes an order that requires child support to be paid from the payor's estate , under s. But be aware that the person who receives child support can register a charge against the real estate property that belongs to the person who pays child support even if there are no arrears of child support.
When a payor dies, the recipient can apply to court for an order under s. When a recipient applies to continue a support obligation or if a support order says that the obligation will continue past the payor's death, the payor's personal representative , the person managing the payor's estate and will, has the right to defend the recipient's application or to vary or terminate a continuing obligation. The primary sections of the Family Law Act dealing with child support are these:. There are five things the court must consider before a child support order can be made:.
First, the court must decide that the person applying for a child support order , the applicant , is able to make the application. Usually, this is just a matter of fitting into the definitions given in the legislation. To make an order under the Divorce Act , the court must have jurisdiction to pronounce a divorce, which requires that the applicant must be a spouse or former spouse who has lived in the province in which the application is made for at least one year. Under the Family Law Act , the applicant can be anyone included in the definitions of parent or guardian , and, if the claim is being made against a stepparent , the claim must be made within one year after the stepparent last contributed to the child 's upkeep and after the stepparent and parent have separated, not later than one year after separation.
Second, the court must find that the child qualifies as a child as set out in the Family Law Act or as a child of the marriage as set out in the Divorce Act , and under the Family Law Act , the court must also find that the child is not a spouse and has not withdrawn from the care of their parents or guardians.
It is important that the application for child support be made while the child still qualifies for child support , otherwise, the court will not have jurisdiction to make a child support order , even a retroactive child support order. There may be an exception to this general rule in variations of an existing order or an agreement, see the cases of MacCarthy v.
Colucci , ONCA Third, the court must find that the person against whom the claim is made has a duty to pay child support. This is also a matter of fitting within the definitions. If the first three conditions have been met, the fourth decision the court must make is to figure out how much the payor should pay. The court must first decide what the payor's annual income is, with the help of the parties' financial information, and then fix the amount of support payable according to the tables set out in the Child Support Guidelines based on the number of children and the payor's income.
There are exceptions to this basic rule, which this chapter discusses in the section Exceptions to the Child Support Guidelines. Fifth, the court will look at how long the payor's obligation should last. This issue is not always argued about, as both the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act have cut-off dates after which children are no longer eligible to receive support. Most orders and agreements say that child support shall be paid "until," for example, "the child is no longer a child of the marriage as defined by the Divorce Act ," "the child is no longer a child as defined by the Family Law Act ," or "the child reaches the age of The situation can be more complicated for payors who are not parents, that is, stepparents.
How much child support and for how long depends on whether or not the biological parent is or should be paying child support. Often a stepparent is required to pay less, having regard to what the biological parent is or should be paying. A receiving parent may be required to take a court action against the biological parent before the court will make any orders against a stepparent. A parent or guardian who is seeking a child support order can apply for that order in either the Supreme Court or the Provincial Court. Whichever court the parent or guardian wants to proceed in, they must start a court proceeding.
A parent or guardian living with a child in British Columbia who wants to get child support from someone living outside of the province has three choices:. The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act allows a person who lives in British Columbia to start a process that will result in an order being made in the jurisdiction in which the other parent lives. The applicant fills out paperwork here, and gives it to the provincial Reciprocals Office.
A staff member will forward that package to the Reciprocals Office where the other parent lives, and the court there will have a hearing , on notice to the other parent , which may result in a child support order being made. The law that will apply is the law where the other parent lives, which will not be the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act.
Only certain jurisdictions have agreed to the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act process. If the place where the other parent lives hasn't made an agreement with British Columbia about child support orders, someone who wants to get a child support order will normally have to start a court proceeding in the place where the other parent lives. This will require hiring a lawyer in that country, and the law that will apply will be the laws of that country, not the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act.
The countries that will cooperate with a proceeding under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act are:. It used to be the case that the person paying child support could claim an income tax deduction for their support payments, while the recipient had to claim it as taxable income. Not so anymore. Any child support payments made pursuant to a written agreement or court order made after April 30, are neither deductible for the payor nor taxable for the recipient. The portion of a lawyer's bill attributable to obtaining, increasing, or enforcing a child support order is tax-deductible.
The cost of defending a claim for child support is not deductible. To claim this deduction, the lawyer must write a letter to the CRA setting out what portion of their fees were attributable to advancing or enforcing a child support claim. If you intend to ask your lawyer for a letter like this, you must tell your lawyer as soon as possible, preferably the moment the lawyer takes your case , so that they can keep a log of time spent on the child support claim.
In a shared parenting situation, where each parent has to pay child support to the other parent , the higher income parent often just pays the difference between the higher amount they owe and the lower amount they would receive. This difference is called a set-off amount. In a court order or agreement, however, it matters how this arrangement is worded. In that case , the CRA will not allow the parents to share child tax deductions or grants, and will not allow the parents to claim the children as dependants when they file taxes.
It is important, therefore, to state that each parent pays child support to the other. And it's probably best to not even mention in the court order or agreement the net set-off amount actually paid. Suggested wording for an agreement dealing with child support in shared parenting situations might be as follows:. For the purposes of determining the basic child support payable pursuant to the Guidelines , Jane and John agree that:. Some lawyers and accountants even suggest that actual cheques for the full amounts should be exchanged to show that each parent pays child support to the other.
You can apply to receive child support from a parent who is receiving social assistance or disability social assistance, but don't expect to get much for your trouble. Social assistance or disability assistance payments, which are non-taxable, would be grossed-up for child support purposes. Even if you're not likely to get a lot of money out of the other parent , it may be a good idea to make the application and get an order , since the order will at least establish the payor's obligation to pay child support.
It's often easier to ask for an increase in the amount payable later on, when the payor is back on their feet, than it is to apply for an original child support order. As well, some people who might be normally responsible to pay support, like a stepparent , may lose their obligation to pay support under the Family Law Act if the application isn't made within a year of the person's last contribution to the child 's support.
It can be critical to get an order that child support be paid early on. In almost all cases, it is the parent who claims child support on behalf of a child , not the child. However, the right to benefit from the payment of child support belongs to the child , not the parent. It follows from this that if child support is the right of the child , children should be able to ask for support on their own, without having to go through a parent. A parent can only be subject to a single order to pay child support for a particular child , and if there is an order between the parents to pay child support , an adult child cannot obtain a new order.
The adult child can, however, apply to enforce the old order if their parents are not complying with the order and arrears of support are owed. When someone does not pay child support , or pays less than they are required to pay, arrears build up. The arrears are the sum of money that should have been paid according to the court order or an agreement but wasn't paid. Arrears are a judgment debt , just like any other debt owing because of a court order that requires someone to pay money to someone else.
Judgment debts can be enforced under the provincial Court Order Enforcement Act , which allows the debtor's wages and benefits to be garnished, and allows real property and personal property to be sold to pay off a judgment debt. Interest, calculated under the Court Order Interest Act , is owing on judgment debts.
A child who is the subject of a child support order can apply to enforce any arrears as a judgment debt. The child can apply to enforce the old order starting when they become an adult able to sue someone at the age of 19 in British Columbia. The Limitation Act , S. Nothing prevents a child from applying for child support , as long as the child would normally be entitled to receive child support , but it is a bit complicated.
First, the child cannot apply for child support under the Divorce Act , because that act only applies to spouses , defined as people who are or who used to be married to each other. The only other law that might apply is the Family Law Act. Section 1 says that "each parent and guardian of a child " is responsible for supporting that child ; s.
Second, for so long as the child 's parents are together and the child continues to live with them, the child will not be entitled to ask for a child support order as the court will assume that the child 's needs are being met.
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Third, a child seeking a child support order must qualify as a child , as defined by s. While the court cannot grant a child a support order if the child doesn't qualify as a child within the meaning of the Act, it is also the case that children under the age of 19 are under a legal disability , which means they cannot start a court proceeding and apply for child support on their own. If you are a child thinking of making a claim for child support , you really should speak to a lawyer.
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This area of the law is not straightforward at all. Normally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province.
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