Agreements and Court in Child Support in BC
How do I file an agreement in court?
If you and the other parent have a written agreement for child support, it is usually a good idea to register the agreement in court. This is called filing an agreement. Agreements can be filed in either the Supreme Court or the Provincial Court.
Agreements that are filed in court can be registered with FMEP and FMEP will enforce them in the same way that it enforces court orders.
If you and the other parent have already been to court about an issue related to your separation, you should file the agreement in the court that handled the other issue. Go to the family law counter and tell the clerk that you’d like to file your agreement in court. The clerk will give you some paperwork to fill out. The court will need an original copy of your agreement.
- Important note: You don’t need permission from the other parent to file your agreement in court.
Will the court review my agreement for child support?
The court does not review agreements that are filed in court. The court will not check that the amount being paid is correct under the Child Support Guidelines or check that the agreement was signed properly.
What happens if I’m applying for a divorce?
If you and your spouse are asking the court for a divorce, one of you will have to make a special kind of affidavit called a Child Support Affidavit. This affidavit is used to give the court information about the arrangements you and the other parent have made for child support. The judge who is considering your divorce must review the Child Support Affidavit. If the judge believes these arrangements are not sufficient, the judge will not give you your divorce.
In general, the judge will want to see that child support is being paid in the amount required by the Child Support Guidelines. The judge may give you a divorce if the arrangements for child support are less than the Guidelines require if you and the other parent have made additional arrangements that benefit your children.
How do I go to court for a child support order?
If you and the other parent cannot work out a child support agreement, you can go to court and apply for an order. The judge will ask each of you for your side of the case and make a decision, called an order.
To get to court, you must either have an action asking for child support or start an action asking for child support. Child support orders can be made at the trial of the action, or at a hearing before the trial called an application.
You can set a date for an application in the Provincial Court by filing a court form called a “Notice of Motion.” In the Supreme Court, you can set a date for an application by filing a “Notice of Application.”
Which court should I go to?
Both the Supreme Court and the Provincial Court can make orders about child support. Only the Supreme Court can makes orders about divorce, property and debt.
- If you are not married and don’t have issues about property or debt to figure out, you can go to either the Provincial Court or the Supreme Court.
- If you are married and want a divorce or have issues about property and debt, you might want to go to the Supreme Court. You can go to the Provincial Court about child support if you want, but you will have to start a second
action in the Supreme Court to deal with divorce, property and debt.
Both the Provincial Court and the Supreme Court are required to use the Child Support Guidelines to set the appropriate amount of child support.
- Important note: The Provincial Court is the most accessible court for most people. The Provincial Court uses simple forms, its rules are easy and no court fees are charged. The Supreme Court uses forms that are more complicated, its rules are very detailed and court fees are charged to begin a court case and to make an application. However, only the Supreme Court is able to make divorce orders and only the Supreme Court can make orders about the division of property and debt.
|The above was last reviewed for legal accuracy by People's Law School, 2014.|
|Child Support in BC © People's Law School is, except for the images, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.|