Child Support

What is Child Support?

The providing of financial support for the raising, maintenance and opportunities for a child after parents separate. 

The Basics of Guideline Child Support

When we say “guideline” we are referring to the Federal Child Support Guidelines (the “Guidelines”). The Guidelines are the Canadian legislation relating to child support.

The decision between both parties on where and who their children will live with is difficult to have but is crucial in the calculation of child support. Depending on your particular parenting arrangement, it is important to know the annual income of one or in some cases, both of the parents.

Child support is determined first by the living arrangements of your child or children.

1. Children living primarily with one parent:

A parent who has care of the children 60% of the time or more, is entitled to receive child support based upon the Federal Child Support Guidelines.  

The amount of child support payable is based upon the paying parent’s income. 

You can google the amount of child support payable based upon income, or you can speak to one of Pathway Legal’s lawyers.

2. Children’s living is shared between the parents:

Shared parenting is when the parents share the amount of time (roughly 40% to 50% of the time with each parent) with the children. 

Sometimes people feel that if they share their kids equally there is no support to be paid. This is not always the case. In fact, if one parent earns substantially more than the other parent, it is likely that the higher-earning parent will pay some child support to the lower-earning parent. 

The general rule of thumb is that the parent with the higher income is the payor of the child support. Essentially, in most cases, there is a set-off amount that is paid from the higher-earning parent to the lower-earning parent. Having said that, in some cases, parties who share parenting choose not to follow the general rule of the higher-earning parent paying the lower-earning parent. 

3. Children’s living is split between the parents:

Split parenting is when there are two or more children, and each parent provides primary care for one or more of the children, meaning:

  1. One or more of the children live with one parent most of the time (60% or more), and
  2. One or more of the children live with the other parents for most of the time (60% or more).

Once again, in such situations, there may be a payment from one parent to the other, depending on income.


The law in British Columbia is clear. Children need to be supported and they will be supported based upon their parents’ income. 

And then there is the section 7 Special or Extraordinary Expenses:

Wait, what? Yes, it is true. Even though the following list of special expenses is not an exhaustive list, special or extraordinary expenses are dealt with on a case-by-case basis and can but certainly include the following: 

With regard to Section 7 Expenses, the Child Support Guidelines include the following expenses:

  1. child care expenses incurred as a result of the custodial parent’s employment, illness, disability, education or training for employment;
  2. insurance premiums for medical and dental coverage attributable to the child;
  3. health-related expenses, including orthodontics, professional counselling, speech therapy and glasses;
  4. extraordinary expenses for primary school or secondary school or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s needs, such as private school and tutoring;
  5. post-secondary education expenses; and
  6. extracurricular activities, if extraordinary.

It is key to note, that unless you otherwise agree with the other parent, these expenses are paid proportionately to the income of you and your ex-spouse. If you are someone who wants advice about child support, Pathway Legal is here to help. 

The whole team at Pathway Legal has your back. We will guide you and your changing family’s circumstances to the new beginning you deserve.