When can I stop paying child support in BC?
If you need to speak with a family lawyer in Victoria BC, please contact our Victoria law firm at (250) 388-9477. We have additional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, and Los Angeles.
When spouses with children separate, one of them will almost always pay the other one an amount of money to help cover the expenses of raising the children – Child Support. The amount paid varies based on the income of the two spouses, where the children spend their time and certain other factors but the obligation to pay remains until certain conditions are met.
Usually when a child reaches the age of majority in the province where they live, child support is no longer payable. An obligation to pay child support still exists if the child is unable to leave the care of their parents, usually because they are either going to full-time college or university or because they have a serious illness.
A client of mine recently assumed he was still required to pay child support for his oldest son, who had recently turned 19 but was enrolled full-time in University. When he informed me that his son no longer lived with his mother, however, I pointed out to him that it made little sense for him to continue paying child support for his eldest son to his former wife.
Children who leave home before the age of majority are often considered to have “withdrawn themselves from the charge” of their parents. This means that the parent they did live with before they moved out will no longer receive child support from the other parent for that child. This only happens when a child withdraw themselves voluntarily, however, and will not occur if the child left home because of family violence or because of objectively intolerable circumstances.
A recent case from the Supreme Court of British Columbia has expanded the definition of “voluntarily” removing themselves from the charge of their parents to include, interestingly, incarceration. In M.A. v. F.A. (2013 BCSC 1077), Madam Justice Bruce decided that because the incarcerated 18 year-old was going to turn 19 before being released and because the spouse who would be receiving child support was not contributing anything to the child’s maintenance or expenses while he was incarcerated, the payor spouse was not required to pay child support.
Make sure you aren’t making support payments if you don’t have to! Your child’s decision to move out and other circumstances can nullify your obligation to make payments to your child’s other parent.
When can I stop paying child support in BC? If you need to speak with a family lawyer in Victoria BC, please contact our Victoria law firm at (250) 388-9477. We have additional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, and Los Angeles.