How Do I Get Out of Paying Child Support?
The answer is pretty simple most of the time: you don't.
The law in Canada is that a biological parent must pay child support when the child lives with the other parent most of the time. End of story.
Since child support is the right of the child, 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 custody of or access 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 obligation 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 adoption, 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 spouse or unmarried 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 stepparent 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 Guidelines 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.|
|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.|