Manitoba Child Support Laws

Below is everything you need to know about child support laws in Manitoba.

Quick take. How does upkeep work in Manitoba?

  • Child support payments end when the child turns 19 in Manitoba.
  • Support may continue past 19 if the parental agreement requires it or the child has special needs.
  • You may use Federal Child Support Tables to estimate the support amount.
  • Provincial laws allow the court to deviate from the guidelines.
  • You may reduce child support obligation by increasing parenting time.
  • The higher-earning parent may have to pay support.
  • You may apply for a reduction if the support amount causes undue hardship.
  • Step-parents have an obligation to provide support for children under their care.
  • Failure to obey a court order may result in contempt of court charges.
  • A parent in Manitoba may voluntarily terminate parental rights.
  • In support cases, jail time is often the last resort.


How is child support determined in Manitoba?

In Manitoba, federal guidelines and Manitoba family maintenance Act govern child support. Under provincial and federal laws, both parents have a legal obligation to reasonably provide for the child’s support, maintenance, and education – even if you do not have custody of the child.

Note that section 36(3), child of a “cohabiting person” states that, quote:

A person who is cohabiting in a conjugal relationship with, but is not married to, another person has the obligation during cohabitation to provide reasonably for the support, maintenance, and education of any child of that other person, while the child is in the custody of the persons or either of them, but the obligation is secondary to that of the child’s parents under subsection (1) and is an obligation only to the extent that those parents fail to provide reasonably for the child’s support, maintenance or education.”

That means that parental obligation also applies to step-parents in Manitoba.

Provincial laws require parents to disclose income information

Section 36.1(1) states that failure to disclose income information is an offense punishable by a maximum fine of $5000.

How to apply for child support in Manitoba

The parents may make an out-of-court agreement or choose litigation.

Option 1: Out-of-court child support agreements

During separation or divorce, parents have two options.

(1) You may negotiate an out-of-court support agreement.

(2) Litigation.

Out-of-court divorce agreements must be in writing, and the support amount must be reasonable. For an out-of-court agreement to be enforceable, provincial laws require the following:

You may also include the following:

  • Post-secondary support agreement.
  • Special or extraordinary expenses.

What if circumstances change?

If either parent’s income changes or you are incapable of making payment, you may amend the agreement.

Option 2: Court-ordered support

If the parties fail to negotiate a support agreement out of court, the custodial parent may apply in person at 379 Broadway, Winnipeg, MB R3C OCT or send an email to [email protected].

Download Manitoba child support forms here.

Manitoba child support laws: what you need to remember

  • The court will set the amount if the parents or guardian cannot agree.

Once enrolled with Manitoba’s Maintenance Program, if the payor refuses to pay, the custodial parent may enforce the agreement. The enforcement options available include license suspension and wage suspension (see consequences of failing to pay child support in Manitoba below).

How to apply for child support in Manitoba: What to remember

How to calculate child support in Manitoba

Provincial and federal laws require the court to use the tables linked below to estimate support obligations.

Download child support tables from 2006 through 2017 here.

Note that the estimate you get from the tables above is not always accurate. The reason for that is section 37(6), which reads, quote:

“ A court may award an amount that is different from the amount that would be determined in accordance with the child support guidelines if the court is satisfied (a) that special provisions in an order, a judgment, or a written agreement respecting the financial obligations of the persons having an obligation under section 36, or the division or transfer of their property, directly or indirectly benefit the child or children, or that special provisions have otherwise been made for the benefit of the child or children; and (b) that the application of the child support guidelines would result in an amount of child support that is inequitable given those special provisions.”

On top of that, the paying parent may also request a reduction in parental obligations if one:

  • Your income changes or you involuntarily lose your job. If you lose your job or your income changes, you may petition the court for a reduction. However, voluntarily quitting your job to avoid child support will not remove your obligation.
  • Undue hardship. You may request a reduction in support payment if the set amount causes undue hardship.
  • Custodial parent change in income. If the custodial parents’ income increases through employment or cohabitation, you may apply for a reduction.

How to increase child support in Manitoba

If the payor’s income increases, the custodial parent may petition the court for an increase.

What to remember

  • You may apply for child support recalculation six months from the last support order or recalculation decision.
  •  If you cannot afford to pay child support, you should notify Manitoba’s Enforcement Program and apply for administrative Suspension of Support.
  • If your child support order was granted under the divorce act, you may not qualify for recalculation.

Download Request for Administrative Suspension of Enforcement Here.  

What happens if one parent earns more than $150,000 per year in Manitoba?

Provincial laws require the court to consider the best interests of the child. Consequently, if a parent earns more than $150,000 (above the table amount), the court may deviate from the guidelines and set an appropriate amount.

What happens if you fail to pay child support in Manitoba?

If a parent or guardian refuses to pay child support, you may report the individual to Manitoba’s Maintenance Enforcement Program.

 Enforcement actions include:

  • Income/ salary garnishment.
  • Garnishing money from the payor’s bank account.
  • Property and asset seizure. It may consist of land, jewelry, and the paying parent’s vehicles.
  • Garnishment of tax refunds, old age security payments, and other funds paid by the federal government.
  • The court may also garnish lottery winnings and money or assets owned by the payors’ business.

Apart from that, the court may order “show cause hearings” where the payor will have to explain their failure to pay.

Can you go to jail for not paying child support in Manitoba?

Yes. After a show cause hearing, the court may jail the paying parent for up to 200 days or order a maximum fine of $10000.

The payor may also face contempt of court charges for failing to obey a court order. Under provincial laws, the penalty for contempt of court is up to 90 days in jail.

How to end child support in Manitoba

As mentioned, a parent in Manitoba has the option to terminate parental rights on the condition that, quote

“The following persons may, by agreement on a prescribed form, surrender guardianship of the child to an agency: (a) the parents of the child;(b) if a parent is deceased, the surviving parent; or(c) if both parents are deceased, the individual who is the child’s guardian appointed by court order.”

Once you terminate parental rights, you give up the following rights:

  • The right to see and speak to the child.
  • The right to take part in any decision that may impact the child’s life.

How long do you have to pay child support in Manitoba?

Provincial laws require parents to support the child until they turn 18. However, if there is a special provision in your child support order, your obligation may continue until you fulfill the terms of the order or agreement.

Note: If the child has special needs, your obligation may continue indefinitely.

Other Manitoba Laws