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Everything You Need to Know About

Retroactive Child Support in British Columbia

If you are involved in divorce proceedings, you may have
heard the term retroactive child support before.
Retroactive child support refers to child support
payments going back to the time that your child was
born or adopted, rather than just going forward from
when your divorce case was filed (or another agreed-
upon date). This can be an important part of your
divorce settlement and, if you have additional questions
about this topic, feel free to reach out to our family law
team here at our Surrey law office.


What is Retroactive Child Support?


Retroactive child support is the responsibility of a parent who has been providing less than their fair share of financial support. A retroactive child support order can be applied for when there are overdue payments and arrears, or when a parent is hiding income from the other party. When an application for retroactive child support is granted, a payment plan will be developed with up-to-date information on both parties’ finances and family law obligations.


How is Retroactive Child Support Calculated in British Columbia?


In British Columbia, child support payments are based on the income of both parents. Your monthly child support payments are calculated by taking your gross income and then subtracting any deductions you make for things like taxes, health care, or union dues. If you have not been paying your fair share of the costs of raising the children, it is possible that the court can order you to pay retroactively - this is called back-dated or retroactive child support.


How Far Back can I Claim Retroactive Child Support?


In British Columbia, retroactive child support is available for the past three years (or further back depending on the specific details of your case). If you are claiming retroactively, you will need to provide evidence of your income and your spouse's income during the time period that you are requesting. Your spouse may be hiding their income from the courts by getting a new job or claiming low-income status, which would make it difficult for them to pay back any arrears. To get around this problem, if you can prove imputed income through tax records or other documents, then an imputed monthly amount can be calculated based on those numbers and used as evidence when claiming retroactively.


What if the Other Parent Doesn't Agree to Pay Retroactive Child Support?



If the other parent does not agree, it is possible to start a retroactive claim for child support. The onus is on the payer of child support and not the recipient. A retroactive claim can be made if there has been a change of circumstances such as a separation or job loss. However, this type of claim is difficult because the court needs proof that the other parent had assets at the time of the separation.


How do I Enforce a Retroactive Child Support Order?


In order to enforce a retroactive child support order, you will need to file an application with the court or with the Family Maintenance Program.  The forms that you file will depend if your action is in the BC Provincial Court or the Supreme Court of BC. 

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