What the child support guidelines are and how they work

Child support orders made in British Columbia are based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines contain clear rules that courts use to set child support as well as tables that list the amount of child support the payor has to pay. These amounts are based on how much he or she earns and how many children the payor must support. Each province has its own table; use the one for the province where the payor lives.

To figure out how much child support the payor will be paying under the guidelines:

  1. Use the Child Support Table Lookup tool (effective from December 31, 2011) to calculate the correct amount of child support.

OR

  1. From the table of contents page for the Federal Child Support Guidelines, under "Schedule I — Federal Child Support Tables," choose the province where the payor lives (the tables for British Columbia).
  2. Choose the table that applies to you, based on the number of children you're seeking or paying support for.
  3. Find the payor's gross annual income in the "Income" column. Income is listed as a range, e.g., "24000 – 24999."
  4. Look to the right of these figures ("Basic Amount") for the basic amount the payor has to pay. If the payor's income is higher than the lowest figure listed in the range (e.g., the payor's income is $24,600 and the range is listed as 24000 – 24999), multiply the additional amount ($600) by the percentage under "Plus (%)," and add this to the basic amount. See Schedule 1 for an example of how to work this out.

Judges (or masters) will consider making orders for amounts that are less than those shown in the tables if:

  • the court agrees with the payor's claim for undue hardship,
  • the child is 19 or over (and not in school full-time),
  • the payor is a step-parent,
  • one parent's income is over $150,000, or
  • one parent makes a claim for special or extraordinary expenses.

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