Child Support Law in BC
Which law applies to me?
The two laws that talk about child support are the Divorce Act, a Canadian law, and the Family Law Act, a British Columbia law.
The Divorce Act applies to people who are, or were, legally married to each other. The Family Law Act applies to married people, people who have lived together for at least two years and people who have had a child together, whether they lived together or not.
Which children qualify for child support?
Under the Divorce Act, children who are “children of the marriage” are entitled to benefit from child support. A child of the marriage is a child under the age of majority, age 19 in British Columbia.
Under the Family Law Act, “children” are entitled to benefit from child support. A child is a person who is less than 19 years old. Both laws also say that these terms can include children who are 19 or older if they cannot live independently of their parents because of illness, disability or another reason, like going to school.
Who has to pay child support?
Under the Divorce Act, spouses must pay child support. “Spouse” includes divorced spouses. “Spouse” also includes stepparents if the stepparent “stands in the place of a parent.” The courts have said that standing in the place of a parent is about acting as if you were the child’s actual parent, like helping to raise the child, helping to make decisions about the child or taking the child to medical appointments.
Under the Family Law Act, parents and guardians must pay child support. “Parent” includes stepparents if:
- the stepparent and the parent are spouses;
- the stepparent helped to support the child for at least one year; and,
- the stepparent and parent have separated; and,
- the claim for child support is made within one year after the stepparent last helped to support the child.
|This information applies to British Columbia, Canada. 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.|