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The determination of child support can be complicated

Determining how much one parent will provide the other in child support can be a stressful process. This is true regardless of whether the couple was married or involved in a common-law relationship. How much a parent will have to pay depends on a variety of factors.  One of those factors could be the failure of a parent who is capable of working, to look for a job. This is illustrated in a child support matter that was recently resolved in British Columbia.

An oral surgeon and his wife of less than 10 years were separated for close to five years. While together, they led a lifestyle described by the woman as “lavish,” and had one child together. Since the separation, the couple’s child has lived with the man. The woman shared custody of the child from a previous relationship, with that child’s father. Following the split, the woman sought child support not for the child she had with the oral surgeon, but rather the man’s step-child. Evidence presented at trial indicated the woman did not want that child to spend any time with the step-father, however.

The man took legal action claiming that he should not have to pay support for his step-son who he rarely sees. He also asserted he had overpaid child-support. A B.C. Supreme Court justice agreed. The judge ruled that the oral surgeon, who previously made more than $2 million a year, and is expected to make up to $500,000 annually in upcoming years, did not have to make monthly child support payments of $14,000. He did however need to make monthly child support payments of $1,500, for his stepson. Those payments will continue until the child turns 19.

In reaching that conclusion the court cited several things. The first is that the woman, a former dental assistant, received a settlement of $1.7 million in the divorce. In addition, the judge also pointed to the potential earnings the woman could make--$55,000 in salary and $60,000 in investments. Instead, she did not take any steps toward finding employment.

As this case illustrates, matters involved in child support can be complicated. Because of this, it is a good idea to work with a lawyer who is knowledgeable about matters of this nature.

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