My ex died, do I still have to pay Child Support?

Sometimes, the areas of Family Law and Estate Law intersect and one relatively recent Supreme Court of British Columbia answers the question of what happens to the payor’s obligations to pay child support when the payee dies.

This situation was addressed in Carpentier v. British Columbia (Director of Family Maintenance Enforcement) 2017 BCSC 250 (“Carpentier”) where the payor was in arrears of child support at the time the payee died.  The payor argued that not only did the obligation to pay child support going forward terminate upon the death of the payee but all child support arrears were cancelled as well. 

The issues before the Court were two fold:

  • Did the payor have to continue paying child support upon the death of the payee; and
  • Did the payor have to pay child support arrears owing as of the payee’s date of death. 

The Court determined that a child support claim is a claim personal to the payee and as such a child support claim does not continue after the death of the payee, and, correspondingly, the payor’s obligation to pay child support accruing beyond the date of death of the payee is extinguished.  However, when it came to the issue of child support arrears, the Court took the position that such arrears constituted a judgment for that amount of child support that was in arrears as of the payee’s date of death.   

In other words, if the parent of your child dies your ongoing obligation to pay child support ends but you will be obligated to pay to that person’s estate any amounts of child support owing as of the date of that parent’s death. 

If you are being asked to pay or are seeking to claim child support in a situation where the opposing party has died, consult Vancouver & Burnaby Family Law and Child Support lawyer Andrew Rebane at Resolutions Law Corporation, Burnaby, British Columbia andrew@resolutionslawcorp.com or 778-372-7107.