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Family law: Varying a child support order in British Columbia

When the need arises to make changes to child support payments, either the payor or the payee can ask for a support order to be varied. Under family law in British Columbia, the term variation is used when an increase or a decrease in child support payments is requested. A request to vary a support payment can be formally made when there is a change in life circumstances such as an increase or a decrease in parents' income, a change in parenting agreements or when the child turns 19 years of age.

When parents agree on those changes, they will have to update the current agreement in writing or create a new agreement. To make changes to a formal child support order, the request will have to be made in the same court that created the original order. If parents don't agree on the changes, an application can be made to the court that made the order in the first place and ask that court to grant a variance.

In British Columbia, both parents are responsible financially for their children until the children are 19 years of age and that could be longer if the child is disabled, ill, still attending school full time or is still dependent. These support payments don't end if one or both parents become involved in a new relationship or remarry. If supporting a new family creates undue hardship for the payor of child support, he or she could petition the court for a variance on that support. 

British Columbia parents who are seeking to have child support payments altered may have a number of questions regarding the process. A lawyer who is experienced in family law may be able to clarify areas which seem confusing. It may be best to consult a lawyer when seeking to vary a child support payment.

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