Step-Child Support in BC
Navigating the intricacies of child support in Victoria, Nanaimo, and Mill Bay can be challenging, especially when it involves step-children. At Infinity Law, we often encounter clients taken aback by the realization that they might be responsible for child support payments for a step-child, even when the biological parent is already fulfilling this duty.
In British Columbia, as per the Family Law Act, SBC 2011, c 25, step-parents are encompassed within the definition of a parent. This means that if you, as a step-parent, have financially supported your step-child for at least a year, you could be liable for child support. This obligation can arise even if the child's biological parent is already paying support.
It's essential to note that the responsibility of child support doesn't solely rest on the step-parent. Both biological parents and the step-parent can share this duty. Typically, a biological parent will pay child support as determined by the Child Support Guidelines. However, the amount a step-parent might owe can vary based on several factors, including their income relative to the biological parent's.
To simplify the calculation for step-parents, a common method used is the "set-off" approach. For instance:
- If a biological father earns $40,000 annually, his guideline support might be $364 monthly.
- A step-father with an income of $75,000 annually might have a guideline support of $701 monthly for the same child.Using the set-off method, the step-father's obligation would be reduced by the biological father's contribution, resulting in a payment of $337 monthly.
For many step-parents in Greater Victoria, Nanaimo, and Mill Bay, the discovery of this potential obligation can be startling. It underscores the importance of understanding your rights and responsibilities under BC's family law. At Infinity Law, we're here to guide you through these complexities, ensuring you're well-informed and prepared for any family law challenges.