Agreements and court orders relating to child and spousal support continue to apply. The terms of an agreement or order are not automatically changed or paused because of the current Coronavirus situation. If someone stops or reduces support payments, the amount owing will accrue as arrears until the agreement or the court order is changed.
Starting on July 2, 2020 and for a limited time as the Provincial Courts deal with the challenges of COVID-19, there is a new process to change a child or spousal support agreement or order of the Provincial Court. This process is only for situations where support needs to change because income has changed since January 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Other issues, such as parenting arrangements or changes to child or spousal support for reasons that are not related to COVID-19 will not use this process. Contact the Family Justice Services Division (FJSD) to schedule your individual needs assessment at 1-844-747-3963 or CSVariation@gov.bc.ca (BC-wide) or 250-356-7012 (Victoria). For more information, see the BC Government COVID-19 Legal Questions or notice FAM 08 released by the Provincial Court.
If you would like to come to an agreement on your own, you can enlist the help of mediators or other professionals to help you come to a temporary agreement. Mediate BC has a new program for people dealing with conflict resulting from quarantine or isolation. Family Justice Services will continue to provide a full range of services to citizens through telephone and other virtual service options until further notice. Services include dispute resolution. See the BC Family Law Q & A -Support for more information and for more resources.
If you are registered with FMEP you are still responsible for making payments. If you can no longer make full payments it is important that you contact your case manager as soon as possible. You can do so by signing into your web account and sending a web message. See FMEP’s March 19, 2020 notice for more information.