Child support or child maintenance

Sections 147 through 152 deals with child support and read as follows:

Duty to provide support for child

147 (1) Each parent and guardian of a child has a duty to provide support for the child, unless the child

(a) is a spouse, or

(b) is under 19 years of age and has voluntarily withdrawn from his or her parents’ or guardians’ charge, except if the child withdrew because of family violence or because the child’s circumstances were, considered objectively, intolerable.

(2) If a child referred to in subsection (1) (b) returns to his or her parents’ or guardians’ charge, their duty to provide support for the child resumes.

(3) If a guardian who is not the child’s parent has a duty to provide support for that child, the guardian’s duty is secondary to that of the child’s parents.

(4) A child’s stepparent does not have a duty to provide support for the child unless

(a) the stepparent contributed to the support of the child for at least one year, and

(b) a proceeding for an order under this Part, against the stepparent, is started within one year after the date the stepparent last contributed to the support of the child.

(5) If a stepparent has a duty to provide support for a child under subsection (4), the stepparent’s duty

(a) is secondary to that of the child’s parents and guardians, and

(b) extends only as appropriate on consideration of

(i) the standard of living experienced by the child during the relationship between the stepparent and his or her spouse, and

(ii) the length of time during which the child lived with the stepparent.

Agreements respecting child support

148 (1) An agreement respecting child support is binding only if the agreement is made

(a) after separation, or

(b) when the parties are about to separate, for the purpose of being effective on separation.

(2) A written agreement respecting child support that is filed in the court is enforceable under this Act and the Family Maintenance Enforcement Act as if it were an order of the court.

(3) On application by a party, the court may set aside or replace with an order made under this Division all or part of an agreement respecting child support if the court would make a different order on consideration of the matters set out in section 150 [determining child support].

Orders respecting child support

149 (1) Subject to subsection (3), on application by a person referred to in subsection (2), a court may make an order requiring a child’s parent or guardian to pay child support to a designated person.

(2) An application may be made by

(a) a child’s parent or guardian,

(b) the child or a person acting on behalf of the child, or

(c) if the right to apply for an order under this section is assigned to a minister under the Employment and Assistance Act or the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act, the minister to whom the right is assigned in the name of the government or the name of the person who made the assignment.

(3) An order under subsection (1) may only be made against a stepparent if

(a) the stepparent has a duty to provide for the child under section 147 (4) [duty to provide support for child], and

(b) the stepparent and the child’s parent are separated.

(4) The making of an order against one person for the support of a child does not affect the liability of, or prevent the making of an order against, any other person responsible for the support of the child.

Determining child support

150 (1) If a court makes an order respecting child support, the amount of child support must be determined in accordance with the child support guidelines.

(2) Despite subsection (1), a court may order child support in an amount different from that required by the child support guidelines if

(a) the parties consent under section 219 [persons may consent to order being made] or have an agreement respecting child support, and

(b) the court is satisfied that reasonable arrangements have been made for the support of the child.

(3) The court must consider the child support guidelines for the purposes of subsection (2), but must not consider arrangements made for the support of the child to be unreasonable only because the amount required under the child support guidelines differs from those arrangements.

(4) Despite subsection (1), a court may order child support in an amount different from that required by the child support guidelines if satisfied that

(a) an agreement or order respecting the financial duties of the parents or guardians or the division or transfer of property, other than an agreement respecting child support, benefits the child directly or indirectly, or that special provisions have otherwise been made for the benefit of the child, and

(b) applying the child support guidelines would be inequitable on consideration of the agreement, order or special provisions.

(5) If a court makes an order respecting child support in an amount different from that required under the child support guidelines, it must give reasons for doing so.

If parentage at issue

151 If the parentage of a child is at issue in a proceeding for an order respecting child support, the court, regardless of whether an application is made under section 31 [orders declaring parentage], may do one or both of the following:

(a) make an order respecting the child’s parentage in accordance with that section;

(b) make an order under section 33 (2) [parentage tests].

Changing, suspending or terminating orders respecting child support

152 (1) On application, a court may change, suspend or terminate an order respecting child support, and may do so prospectively or retroactively.

(2) Before making an order under subsection (1), the court must be satisfied that at least one of the following exists, and take it into consideration:

(a) a change in circumstances, as provided for in the child support guidelines, has occurred since the order respecting child support was made;

(b) evidence of a substantial nature that was not available during the previous hearing has become available;

(c) evidence of a lack of financial disclosure by a party was discovered after the last order was made.