Child support and the disclosure of income

Deciding upon the level of child support that may be needed in British Columbia can sometimes be a difficult matter. In cases where child support is called for, one or both parents may be required to provide proof of income in order to calculate the level of support under the federal guidelines.

Those who are required to disclose their income level for the purpose of establishing child support will most often need to provide information from the most recent three years. Should an individual fail to comply with this disclosure requirement at court, a judge may impose various penalties, including setting a predetermined amount of child support that does not necessarily take income level into account. In some situations, it may be necessary for both parties to provide such information, such as, when there is a shared custody arrangement or one party has claimed hardship.

People can provide proof of income by authorizing the disclosure of their most recent three years of tax returns and notices of assessment and reassessment from the Canada Revenue Agency. Some circumstances may allow for additional sources of proof to be used, such as statements of earnings from an employer or a written letter from the same. These documents must be provided to the relevant party within 30 days of being made aware of the disclosure requirement.

In some circumstances, the evidence that people are required to disclose may not accurately express their true income level, for which reason some child support orders may not be optimally calculated. Those who feel that the support order under which they are obligated requires some form of modification, may wish to consult the issue with a lawyer who has experience in family law matters and who can explain the procedures involved.

Source: Department of Justice, “Step 5: calculate annual income“, December 31, 2014

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