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.
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 not upheld by the courts. It is the court's duty to ensure that after separation parents make appropriate financial arrangements for the children.
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, whether they lived together or not, or whether both parents have maintained or want to maintain a relationship with the child.
There are only two exceptions:
- the child with your genes is born as a result of assisted reproduction and you are a donor — in this case, the donor is not, by reason only of the donation of their sperm or egg, the child's parent, or
- someone else adopted the child with your genes.
If those two exceptions don't apply, the only way to get out of an obligation to pay child support is if:
- the child lives with you for the majority of the time, in which case the other parent will be required to pay child support to you, or
- you and the other parent have equal or close to equal parenting time with the child and both of you make the same income.
The Divorce Act and the Family Law Act both say that stepparents may be required to pay child support, but only if the parent and the stepparent separate.
Under the Divorce Act, this means someone who married a parent.
Under the Family Law Act, this means someone who married a parent, or lived in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years with a parent, and contributed to the support of that 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 Inga Phillips, June 14, 2019.|
|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.|
Normally referred to as the "Supreme Court of British Columbia," this court hears most court proceedings in this province. The Supreme Court is a court of inherent jurisdiction and is subject to no limits on the sorts of claims it can hear or on the sorts of orders it can make. Decisions of the Provincial Court are appealed to the Supreme Court; decisions of the Supreme Court are appealed to the Court of Appeal. See "Court of Appeal," "jurisdiction," "Provincial Court," and "Supreme Court of Canada."
A court established and staffed by the provincial government, which includes Small Claims Court, Youth Court, and Family Court. The Provincial Court is the lowest level of court in British Columbia and is restricted in the sorts of matters it can deal with. It is, however, the most accessible of the two trial courts and no fees are charged to begin or defend a family court proceeding. The Family Court of the Provincial Court cannot deal with the division of family property or matters under the Divorce Act. See "judge" and "jurisdiction."
In 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."
Money 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.
A person who is younger than the legal age of majority, 19 in British Columbia. See "age of majority."
In 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."
Under 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 amount of time with the child. See "custody."
A person who gives something as a gift or as a bequest, freely and without expectation of payment in return.
In law, a court proceeding; a lawsuit; an action; a cause of action; a claim. Also the historic decisions of the court. See "action," "case law, " "court proceeding," and "precedent."
A duty, whether contractual, moral, or legal in origin, to do or not do something. See "duty."
A term under the Family Law Act which describes the time a guardian has with a child and during which is responsible for the day to day care of the child. See "guardian."
The 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."
In family law, the quality of an unmarried couple's relationship that demonstrates their commitment to each other, their perception of themselves as a couple, and their willingness to sacrifice individual advantages for the advantage of themselves as a couple; a legal requirement for a couple to be considered spouses without marrying. See "cohabitation," "marriage," and "spouse."
A 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.