How Do I Get Out of Paying Child Support?

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

The answer is pretty simple most of the time: you don't.

Biological parents

The law in Canada is that a biological parentIn family law, the natural or adoptive father or mother of a child; may also include stepparents, depending on the circumstances and the applicable legislation; may include the donors of eggs or sperm and surrogate mothers, depending on the circumstances and the terms of any assisted reproduction agreement. See "adoptive parent," "natural parent" and "stepparent." must pay child supportMoney paid by one parent or guardian to another parent or guardian as a contribution toward the cost of a child's living and other expenses. when the child lives with the other parent most of the time. End of story.

Since child support is the right of the childA person who is younger than the legal age of majority, 19 in British Columbia. See "age of majority.", not the right of the parent, neither parent has the right or ability to bargain away child support in exchange for giving up, for example, the right to seek custodyIn family law, an antiquated term used by the ''Divorce Act'' to describe the right to possess a child and make parenting decisions concerning the child's health, welfare and upbringing. See "access." of or accessUnder the ''Divorce Act'', the schedule of a parent's time with their children under an order or agreement. Access usually refers to the schedule of the parent with the least time with the child. See "custody." to the child. Agreements like that are never upheld by the courts.

The duty to pay child support stems from the simple fact that both parents contributed some of their genes to make a baby, and that's something you just can't get out of. It's a biological fact that has nothing to do with the ages of the parents, their marital status, or whether both parents have maintained or want to maintain a relationship with the child.

The only two ways to get out of an obligationA duty, whether contractual, moral or legal in origin, to do or not do something. See "duty." to pay child support are to:

  • have the child with you for the majority of the time, in which case the other parent will be required to pay child support to you, or
  • give the child up for adoptionIn family law, the act or process of taking another person's child as one's own. The child becomes the adopting parent's legal child as if the child were the adopting parent's natural child, while the natural parent loses all rights and obligations with respect to the child. See "natural parent.", in which case, following the adoption, you will cease to have any obligations at all toward the child.


The Divorce Act and the Family Law Act both say that stepparents can be required to pay child support.

Under the Divorce Act, this means someone who married a parent.

Under the Family Law Act, this means the guardian of a child and a person who was the married spouseA person who is validly married to another person as a result of a ceremony presided over by someone with the authority to conduct marriages. See "marriage" and "unmarried spouse." or unmarried spouseSomeone who is a spouse by the operation of a statute. Under the ''Family Law Act'', unmarried spouses are people who have lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years, or, for all purposes of the act other than the division of property or debt, who have lived together for less than two years but have had a child together. See "marriage-like relationship," "marriage" and "married spouse." of a parent and contributed to the support of the parent's child for at least one year.

The nice thing about being a stepparentThe spouse of a person who has children from a previous relationship. A stepparent may qualify as a "parent" for the purposes of issues relating to child support and the care and control of a child under both the ''Divorce Act'' and the ''Family Law Act''. See "parent" and "spouse." is that the other biological parent's obligation to pay child support can be taken into account when the amount of the stepparent's child support payments is being figured out, which usually means that support will be paid in an amount less than what the Child Support GuidelinesA regulation to the federal ''Divorce Act'', adopted by every province and territory except Quebec, that sets the amount of child support a parent or guardian must pay, usually based on the person's income and the number of children involved. require.

You can find out more about the obligations of stepparents to pay child support in the chapter Child Support.

This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. Last reviewed for legal accuracy by Thomas Wallwork, May 9, 2017.
Creativecommonssmall.png JP Boyd on Family Law © John-Paul Boyd and Courthouse Libraries BC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 Canada Licence.
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