Why Do I Pay Child Support with 50/50 Custody? - Zukerman Law

50/50 Custody But Still Paying Child Support in BC? Here’s Why

In British Columbia, child support remains an essential aspect of ensuring the well-being of children after separation, even in situations where parents share 50/50 custody. This concept can be surprising for some parents, leading to questions about fairness and financial obligations. This blog post aims to demystify the rationale behind child support payments in 50/50 custody arrangements in BC.
Even when parenting time is split equally, we’ll explore the fundamental principles guiding child support calculations. By understanding the factors considered and the ultimate goal of supporting your child’s needs, you’ll gain valuable insight into this aspect of BC’s family law system.

Why Do I Pay Child Support with 50/50 Custody in BC?

Why Do I Pay Child Support with 50/50 Custody in BC?

The concept of child support with 50/50 custody in BC can be counterintuitive. Here, we delve into the reasoning behind this seemingly contradictory practice.
Child support is not automatically waived in British Columbia when parenting arrangements involve a 50/50 time split. Instead, the system focuses on the differential income between the parents. If one parent earns significantly more than the other, the higher-income earner will be obligated to pay child support to the lower-income earner. This ensures that, despite equal parenting time, both parents contribute financially to the child’s well-being in a way that reflects their respective earning capacities.

The rationale behind this approach centers on recognizing that expenses associated with raising a child are not necessarily divided equally simply because parenting time is split 50/50. The higher-earning parent likely has a more significant financial capacity to contribute towards various costs, such as:

  • Housing expenses (including mortgage payments or rent)
  • Food and groceries
  • Clothing needs
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Healthcare costs not covered by insurance

By calculating child support based on income disparity, the system aims to achieve a fairer distribution of financial responsibility. It ensures that the child’s needs are adequately met regardless of which parent they reside with during a particular period.

Are There Any Exceptions to Paying Child Support with 50/50 Custody in BC?

Are There Any Exceptions to Paying Child Support with 50/50 Custody in BC?

In British Columbia, the principle of child support remains consistent, with no automatic exceptions, even with 50/50 custody.
While there are no general exceptions, it’s important to note that the specific circumstances of each case can be considered during the child support calculation process. A qualified family law lawyer can help you navigate these complexities and determine if there might be grounds for a deviation from the standard calculations.
Here are some potential scenarios that could influence the child support amount, even with 50/50 custody:

  • High-income disparity: In cases where the income difference between parents is significant, the court may adjust the calculation to ensure the higher-income parent contributes a reasonable amount of child support.
  • Extraordinary expenses: If a child has special needs or requires additional fees for medical care, education, or extracurricular activities, these exceptional costs may be factored into the calculations.
  • Support for adult children: In rare situations, child support may be ordered for adult children who are financially dependent due to disability or pursuing higher education.
Can Special and Extraordinary Expenses Be Shared Differently in a 50/50 Custody Situation?

Can Special and Extraordinary Expenses Be Shared Differently in a 50/50 Custody Situation?

Even within a 50/50 custody arrangement in British Columbia, there’s flexibility regarding how unique and extraordinary expenses are shared. While the general principle favors an equal division between parents, there’s no rigid requirement for a strict 50/50 split.
The court’s primary focus rests on the best interests of the child. To determine a fair allocation of these expenses, the court will meticulously examine the specific circumstances of each case. Here are some key factors that can influence the court’s decision:

  • Financial Resources of Each Parent: A parent with a significantly higher income may be ordered to contribute a larger portion to special and extraordinary expenses than a lower-income parent.
  • The Child’s Needs: The court will consider the child’s specific needs. Expenses for essential medical care might take precedence over non-essential extracurricular activities.
  • Practical Considerations: The court may evaluate the practicality of dividing certain expenses. For instance, sharing costs for private school tuition might be more feasible than splitting the cost of orthodontics in half.

In essence, the general rule of equal division for unique and extraordinary expenses in 50/50 custody arrangements can be adjusted based on the unique circumstances of each case. The court has the discretion to allocate these expenses in a way that prioritizes the child’s well-being.

Key Takeaways and Seeking Guidance

Navigating child support complexities, particularly within a 50/50 custody arrangement in British Columbia, can be challenging. This blog post has shed light on the rationale behind child support payments even with equal parenting time, explored potential exceptions, and addressed how unique and extraordinary expenses can be shared differently.
Remember, these are general considerations, and the specifics of your situation will significantly impact the outcome.
If you’re facing questions or uncertainties regarding child support in a 50/50 custody arrangement, seeking guidance from a qualified family law professional is crucial. Zukerman Law’s highly experienced team can provide clear and tailored advice throughout this process. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and ensure your child’s needs are effectively addressed while protecting your interests.


Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.