Uncontested Divorce With Children in British Columbia:
Federal and British Columbia Family Law and Family Court procedure, for an uncontested divorce involving parties with children, where there will be no Family Court appearance, it requires a written agreement, and it must contain specific mandatory provisions. The written agreement must contain custody provisions for the children (either sole or joint), a parenting schedule, health insurance for the children and child support. Federal and BC’s Family Law requires that child support be calculated using the Federal Child Support Tables. The annual income is generally the gross income minus unions dues and other allowed cost of employment expenses, Income taxes are not deducted from the gross income to determine child support.
The parties can agree to a higher or lower amount. Still, a specific reason for the deviation is to be included in the written agreement and it is subject to the Family Court’s approval.
Under current British Columbia Family Law, child support obligations continue until the child reaches the age of 18 years, or later if a child is not yet emancipated.
If daycare is required for the custodial parent to attend employment or an educational program that will be used to obtain employment, the agreement must also provide for the sharing of the daycare costs. The cost of the daycare would be shared on a basis determined by each co-parent’s percentage of the total income of both parents.
Under current British Columbia Family Law, the co-parent receiving the child support has the right to receive the child support through the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP). If the co-parent receiving child support elects to use the services of BC’s Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), the co-parent paying the child support would have to send their payments to the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) on a regular schedule, established by that office. If the co-parent receiving the child support elects not to use the services of Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP), that co-parent must waive this right in a written statement.
The issue of the payment of post-secondary education expenses for the children also needs to be addressed in any written agreement submitted to the Family Court. The agreement should outline an agreement between the divorcing parties as to their respective responsibilities concerning the payment of post-secondary education expenses. A commonly used agreement is that after all grants and monies previously put aside for college costs are exhausted, the parties would split the cost of post-secondary education. With each co-parent’s maximum liability being their share of the cost of sending the child to post-secondary education for one post-secondary degree or diploma. It is not required that the responsibility of paying for post-secondary education expenses be included in a divorce agreement.
The issue of claiming children as dependents on income tax returns should also be addressed in a written agreement. Under current CRA regulations, the co-parent who has physical custody of the children has the exclusive right to claim the children as eligible dependents on their income tax returns. It is common for parties in amicable divorces to agree to split the right to claim the children as eligible dependents.
For my office to prepare the child support agreement, you must provide written documentation of income for both parents. The documentation should consist of Notice of Assessments, recent pay stubs and income tax returns. If there are existing Family Court Orders concerning child support, custody or visitation, you must provide a copy of such Orders.
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