What is the test for reducing or cancelling child support?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from A.A.B. v. P.G.B., 2004 BCSC 1466 (CanLII):

In order to succeed on an application to vary an order of child support, particularly where the order had its genesis in an agreement between the parties and was embodied in a consent order, the applicant must show a material change in his circumstances. It is well settled that a material change is one which, if known at the time, would likely have resulted in different terms. The decision of Martinson J. in Earle v. Earle, [1999] B.C.J. No. 974, usefully sets out the basic principles applicable on applications to reduce support and cancel or reduce arrears.

As Sopinka J. wrote in Willick v. Willick, supra at 21 that: ...the change must be a material change of circumstances. This means a change, such that, if known at the time, would likely have resulted in different terms. The corollary to this is that if the matter which is relied on as constituting a change was known at the relevant time it cannot be relied on as the basis for variation.

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