How does the Alberta Family Law Act affect how much child support is paid or received?

The Family Law Act sets out who has responsibility to pay child support, who is entitled to receive child support and the amount of child support in non divorce situations. (The Divorce Act governs the responsibility to pay child support in divorce situations.) The Family Law Act refers to the Alberta Child Support Guidelines to calculate the amount of support. The Alberta Child Support Guidelines are modeled after the Federal Child Support Guidelines. This ensures that the amount of child support for Alberta children will be calculated in the same way, regardless of the nature of their parents' relationship.

Current child support orders may have been granted under the Divorce Act, the Family Law Act or under provincial legislation that is now no longer in force, such as the Parentage and Maintenance Act or the Domestic Relations Act. A child support order granted under the PMA or DRA is still valid and can still be enforced.

An application to vary or change an existing child support order granted under provincial legislation (not the Divorce Act) must be made under the Family Law Act. This includes child support orders that were granted under the Parentage and Maintenance Act or the Domestic Relations Act.