You can change a child support agreement or order if circumstances change. Examples of a change in circumstances include an increase or decrease in a parent’s income, a change in the parenting arrangements, a change in special expenses, or a child turns 19 (the age of majority in BC). You and the other parent should talk about any changes in your incomes at least once a year.
If you and the other parent agree to change the amount of support in your current agreement according to the Child Support Guidelines, update the agreement in writing, or write up a new agreement as described on this website.
If you and the other parent agree that you want to change a child support order, you will have to apply to make the change in the same court that made the original order. This is called “making an application to vary the original order”. If the original order was made in Provincial Court, it can be changed in Provincial or Supreme Court. If the original order was made in Supreme Court, it can only be changed in Supreme Court.
A Family Justice Counsellor can help you with an agreement or order filed in Provincial Court. A Child Support Officer can help you with an agreement or order filed in either Provincial or Supreme Court.
If you and the other parent don’t agree to a change to the original court order, one or both of you can apply to the court that made the original order, and ask the court to change (vary) it. For help with how to do that in either Provincial or Supreme Court, make an appointment to see a Child Support Officer. A Family Justice Counsellor can also assist you with orders made in Provincial Court.
Both parents are financially responsible for their children until a child turns 19 (the age of majority in BC). Sometimes longer if a child is still dependent, such as when a child is ill, disabled, or still in school full time.
Child support continues even if the parent who has primary care of the children enters a new relationship. If you have questions about your situation, talk to a Family Justice Counsellor in your area.
If the children live with you most of the time and you remarry, the income of the new spouse does not affect the amount of child support you receive from the children’s other parent.
If you are the paying parent and have a new family to support, you are still required by law to financially support your other children. However, having a second family is an example of a situation that could cause undue hardship for you or for your children.
To claim undue hardship, you will have to go to court to prove that your second family will have a lower standard of living than your first family unless the child support payments are reduced. The court will consider both households’ standard of living, the income of all household members, and the number of people in each household.
If you think you have a case of undue hardship, see a Family Justice Counsellor to find out what you should do next.
If you made a child support agreement with the other parent but don’t have it in writing, the agreement is not enforceable—that means the law cannot force the other parent to pay what you agreed to. If the paying parent doesn’t pay what they said they would, see a Family Justice Counsellor to find out what you should do next.
If you went to court and got a child support order but don’t have a copy of it, ask the court registry staff to help you get one.
If you never had an agreement or an order, see a Family Justice Counsellor ;to find out what you should do next.