Child & spousal support

Support (sometimes called "maintenance") is the money paid by one parent or guardian to another, or by one spouse to the other, as financial assistance after separation.

Child support

Children are legally entitled to child support from the parent who doesn't live with them. Learn about child support, the guidelines for calculating support, and for how long it needs to be paid.

When does child support end?

Child support usually lasts until the child turns 19, but can end before or after in special circumstances. Find out when your child's payments are likely to end.

If you're a child wanting to know if you can continue to receive child support after you turn 19, go to Information for children & teens.

What is financial disclosure?

If you have a family law issue about support or property division, you must give full and accurate financial information to the other person, even if they don't ask you to. This is called giving financial disclosure.

Can you retroactively increase child support payments?

If you have a child support order or agreement and the paying parent (the person who is paying support) either:

  • earns more now than they did when the original order or agreement was made, or
  • didn't properly disclose their income when the original order or agreement was made,

you might be able to get a retroactive increase in child support. This means the court can look back and work out how much support you should have been getting. You might get a lump sum or higher monthly support payments to make up the difference.

Can you retroactively reduce child support payments?

If you pay child support and your income goes down, you might find yourself unable to pay the full amount of support. If this happens, you can ask for a retroactive decrease in child support. This means you can ask the court to go back and work out how much you should have been paying for child support after your income went down.

Can you reduce or cancel child support arrears?

Arrears are past child support payments that haven't been paid. A judge can reduce or cancel arrears, but you have to show that there's a very good reason to do this.

The following videos highlight some common questions about receiving/paying child support for parents or guardians living in BC.

Spousal support

Spousal support can help make sure a spouse doesn't struggle financially while becoming independent. Learn about spousal support and how to figure out if you should be paying or receiving support.

Registering your support agreement or order

Family Maintenance Enforcement Program

The Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) can help you keep track of your support payments.

What is the Child Support Recalculation Service?

The Child Support Recalculation Service (CSRS) is a free program that reviews child support orders and written agreements.  It recalculates (works out again) the amount of child support a paying parent has to pay every year based on updated income information received or requested from them. The amount can be raised or lowered. Find out how the service works and who can use it.

If you're behind in paying support

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to financial hardship for many people. Please see If you're struggling to pay support for up-to-date information about temporarily changing child support agreements or orders.

Attend a committal hearing (for payors) (FMEP)

Step-by-step guide to preparing for your committal hearing if you've received a summons to go to court because you're behind on your support payments.

Getting your driver's licence back if FMEP takes it away

How to get your driver's licence back if ICBC won't renew it because you're behind on your support payments.