British Columbia Child Support & Parenting Time Totals

British Columbia child support and parenting time totals

In British Columbia, the amount of child support is figured based on the non-residential parent's income. Parenting time doesn't normally figure into the formula.

The court may deviate from its strict child support guidelines on a case-by-case basis when the non-residential parent's visitation time is greater than 40 percent. Accurate parenting time numbers can directly affect your child support, whether you pay or receive.

Most parenting time totals are estimates (and thus incorrect)

British Columbia attorneys and judges often rely on parenting time estimates only, even if they are incorrect, because counting total hours is tedious and time consuming. Divorcing parents usually rely on these estimates as well.

Using estimates means your parenting time totals can be wrong when compared to your actual parenting time schedule. This means your child support amount will not be fair or exact.

How to calculate parenting time instead of relying on estimates

To calculate parenting time, the easiest and most accurate way is to use software. Without software, you're forced to count each hour for a whole year, which is error-prone when you include alternating holidays, summer break, and any changes to the schedule throughout the year.

The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Parenting Time Now

Using software, you can also tweak your schedule to see how even little changes affect your total time, and you can see how your parenting time percentages change each year due to holidays and other events.

You can also track what actually happens, and show how much parenting time you've actually received for any period of time. Historical information is a powerful tool when you request a child support modification or when you request more parenting time.

Fast facts on child custody and child support in British Columbia

Canada's federal government oversees all child support cases in the country. The child support laws for British Columbia are not that different from other provinces, but there are some areas that are specific to British Columbia.

In British Columbia, the laws governing child custody and child support are not very different from the federal laws. The main differences between the federal and provincial regulations center more around procedures, application of policies and adjusting the child support guidelines to the standard of living in British Columbia.

Parents should note that in British Columbia, the child custody guidelines use the term “guardian” and "guardianship" rather than "custody," which is the term used in the federal documentation.

British Columbia child support formula and parenting time totals

In British Columbia, the child support formula is different for sole and shared physical custody. However, British Columbia family courts do not give automatic parenting time credit that can reduce your child support amount.

The only way parenting time can influence the amount of child support you receive or pay is when the non-residential parent can show the family court that visitations exceed 40 percent, or 146 overnights. The court will make modifications to your child support on a case-by-case basis.

Although British Columbia courts have developed several different formulas to calculate the amount of child support payable for shared custody, a net difference between both parents' incomes is usually used.

A detailed look at British Columbia's child support guidelines

The Province of British Columbia uses the Family Relations Act, which outlines provincial matters relating to child custody, child support and guardianship. Marriage and divorce are the responsibility of the federal government, while child support issues are provincial.

The guidelines state that the objective is to “to establish a fair standard of support for children that ensures that they benefit from the financial means of both parents.”

Like many other provinces, the FRA does not deal with divorce (that's the responsibility of the federal government) but does outline policies and procedures for child custody, guardianship and child support.

The FRA applies to parents who have never been married or who are separating but not divorcing. Married parents seeking divorce are subject to the federal guidelines surrounding custody and support.

Canadian provinces differ in what is considered to be the age of majority, or the age where a child is no longer eligible for child support. In British Columbia, 19 is considered as the age of majority.

Finally, just like most of the Canadian provinces and territories, British Columbia does not give a parenting time credit when calculating child support amounts.

Why accurate parenting time totals are important in British Columbia

Accurate parenting time percentages are important because British Columbia law requires a different method for calculating sole and shared custody child support amounts. If you use estimates for parenting time, you could be relying on the wrong child support formula to calculate child support.

If you can create a parenting plan that accurately presents the total parenting time, or parenting time percentage, you can ensure the calculations will be accurate.

Examples of sole custody and British Columbia child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's income is $2,400 per month. They have two children.

See how the child support amounts change in these examples:

  • Scenario #1: Robert is the non-residential parent. According to the British Columbia child support formula, Robert pays $728 in child support each month to Mary.
  • Scenario #2: Mary is the non-residential parent. Mary pays $444 in child support to Robert.
Examples of shared custody and British Columbia child support

Consider the hypothetical case of Robert and Mary. Robert's income is $4,000 per month, while Mary's income is $2,400 per month. They have two children.

Here are some scenarios on how a British Columbia family court might determine child support:

  • Scenario #1: Total monthly child support is set as $728 for Robert and $444 for Mary. The net difference is $284, so this would be the amount that Robert pays each month in child support. This is because Robert is the higher earner.
  • Scenario #2: Their total income per month is $6,400, with Robert earning 63 percent and Mary earning 37 percent. The guidelines suggest that Robert should pay 63 percent of the total child support. In this case, Robert pays 63 percent of $1,172, or $738 per month in child support.
  • Scenario #3: The family court could determine that the amount of child support should be greater or less than either of the previous scenarios and generate a child support amount that fairly represents Robert and Mary's situation.
British Columbia guidelines allow for parenting time exceptions

While the majority of child support awards in British Columbia follow the simple federal or provincial formula, it's possible for a judge to set an amount that differs from what the child support table reflects as appropriate.

Section 93-(2) and 93-(3) of the Family Relations Act outlines this exception:

  • (2) Despite subsection (1) (a), a court may make an order to discharge a liability under section 88 by paying to the person designated in the order an amount that differs from the amount the court ascertains, using the child support guidelines, if the court is satisfied that
    (a) provisions in an order, a judgment or a written agreement respecting the financial obligations of the parents, or the division or transfer of their property, directly or indirectly benefit the child, or that special provisions have otherwise been made for the benefit of the child, and
    (b) the application of the child support guidelines would be inequitable in the circumstances of the provisions to which paragraph (a) refers.
  • (3) If the court makes an order under subsection (2), it must record its reasons for having done so.

In summary, even though parenting time does not figure into the child support formula in British Columbia, the guidelines do allow judges to consider modifications to the rigid child support tables set out by the federal and provincial governments.

How accurate child support helps your children

Paying accurate child support helps your children in several ways, primarily because it ensures their financial needs are met.

Here are some other reasons why accurate parenting time percentages help you, the other parent and your children:

  • It provides a fair way to determine your child support amounts
  • It guarantees the child support amount reflects each parent's responsibilities
  • It allows for modifications if your actual time and scheduled time are different
  • It is compliant with British Columbia law

Your financial obligations to your children don't end with divorce, so whether you are paying or receiving child support, you owe it to your children to pay or receive the proper amount.

Top 5 things to remember about British Columbia child support and parenting time

To ensure you are paying or receiving the right amount of child support in British Columbia, remember these 5 things:

  1. Whether your case falls under federal or provincial guidelines depends on your marital situation and residency. British Columbia laws apply to parents who have never been married or who are separating but not divorcing.  
  2. The Family Relations Act governs most of the child support and child custody issues for parents in British Columbia. It is unique among other provincial and federal statues in that it uses the term “guardianship” exclusively instead of “custody.”
  3. Shared custody means that the non-residential parent hosts the children for 146 overnights or more annually. Fewer than 146 overnights leads to sole custody.
  4. Shared custody child support in British Columbia is decided on a case-by-case basis, generally using some form of calculation that examines the net difference between the two incomes.
  5. British Columbia family courts can make adjustments to a child support amount when there is good supporting evidence that the amount is too low or too high for the children's needs.

Use the Custody X Change software to accurately calculate your total parenting time to present to a British Columbia family court.


The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Time

The leading parenting time calculation software, Custody X Change, can calculate your parenting time to see if it was estimated incorrectly.

Calculate Your Parenting Time Now