The Federal Child Support Guidelines provide the framework for us to determine the amount of child support that is required to be paid in any given situation. There is a range of factors to consider when determining the amount of child support to be paid and R&R Legal Group can assist you with determining the correct amount that you should be paying or receiving.
At its core, child support is the money paid for the financial support of the children from one parent to the other parent. It is the responsibility of every parent to financially support their children. The amount of child support that needs to be paid will depend on the incomes of the parties, the number of children and the parenting arrangements. There can be substantial differences in the way that people earn income, and different circumstances can affect the total amount to be paid.
We always hope that parties can solve their issues amicably, and with as little expense as possible. If you are unable to come to an agreement and you have to go to Court, it is essential that The Court know the specific details to determine what is the fair amount of support to be paid.
There are usually two types of child support: monthly child support (also known as Section 3 support) and child-related special expenses (section 7 support).
Monthly Child Support (Section 3)
Monthly child support is determined based on a chart within the Federal Child Support Guidelines. When we are calculating child support we typically use your net income and not your gross income. If you are not aware of the difference, your net income, is the amount of income that you brought home after taxes and union dues were deducted.
When determining a parent’s income, we want to look at the specific details of each person. Are you an employee, and declare all or the majority of your income as line 150 on your tax return? Great! This is one of the easiest situations. We calculate monthly child support based on your line 150 income minus some allowed deductions. The most common deductions are union dues and professional dues. If you have that information together, give the Government of Canada child support calculator a try. R&R Legal Group can help you review the possible deductions and ensure the amount you pay or receive is correct.
If you want to look up immediately what support may be required, the Federal Child Support Calculator can provide assistance.
Are you self-employed or a shareholder in a closely held corporation? Calculating monthly child support could be more complicated, so you’ll need to show your business income, expenses, accounting statements, and tax returns for the last three or more years. Gross income rarely equals net income for a business, and a good lawyer will earn their keep by helping you explain your true income in a clear and convincing manner.
Special or Extraordinary Expenses (Section 7)
Child-related special expenses include childcare, healthcare costs, dental costs and extracurricular activities. Special expenses are determined based on the needs of the children and the financial circumstances of the parents. Normally, special expenses are split proportionately between the parties based on their incomes and need to be agreed to collectively by the parents.
Clients are often confused about whether or not certain expenses are covered in the monthly child support payment, or should be considered a special or extraordinary expense.
The short answer is: your Section 7 payment includes expenses that are in your child’s best interests (medical, dental, sports, etc.) and that make sense for your family's financial situation. Every family cannot afford horseback riding, gymnastics and fulltime hockey at the same time; and the law doesn't expect you too either! It is our opinion that it is typically best for families to figure out amongst themselves what they want for their children, and work together to give that to them. When there are disputes, it is possible to ask the Court to determine what is and is not a reasonable expense.
R&R Legal Group can help you review your family’s expenses and provide clarity on what is and is not likely a section 7 expense and how much each parent should be contributing.
Child support is typically required to be paid until a child is 18 years old, although a parent may be required to pay child support after the child has turned 18 years old if the child is attending school or is unable to provide for themselves due to a disability.
How do I calculate child support?
The monthly amount of child support required to be paid will depend on the number of children and the parenting plan. Child support is payable based on the parties’ incomes and the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Determining a party’s income for child support purposes is not always simple and may require more than just looking at the party’s pay stub or income tax return.
If one party has the children more than 60% of the time during a calendar year, that party has primary residence of the children. The other party would then owe child support based on their income, the province they reside in and the number of children. The Federal Child Support Guidelines tables can be used to determine the amount of child support owed in this situation.
If one party has the children 40% or more and the other party has the children 60% or less during a calendar year, this is a shared parenting arrangement. Typically, in this situation, child support is paid on a set-off basis. This means we calculate the amount of child support that each person owes to the other based on their income, the number of children, and the province they reside in. The person who earns the higher income and is required to pay the higher amount of support essentially pays the set-off to the other parent. The Federal Child Support Guidelines tables can be used to determine the amount of child support owed in this situation. There are some exceptions where a set-off does not apply. It is always best to meet with a lawyer to explain your circumstances and determine the amount of child support to be paid.
Incomes over $150,000
If one party or both parties have an income over $150,000, the Federal Child Support Guidelines tables may not apply. In this case, there are further factors that can be taken into account when determining child support.
In these situations, your lawyer needs to accurately determine the sources of income and properly review it to identify what should and should not be used in the calculation of yearly income. We have experience working in these situations and can be a guide towards what is fair and correct for your family.
My spouse has been ordered to pay child support, but is not paying, what can I do?"If you have a child support order or agreement, you can register it with the Maintenance Enforcement, which can collect child support directly from your spouse. If your spouse continues to refuse to pay, the Maintenance Enforcement Office can suspend their driver’s licence or passport and garnish their wages. If you would like to register with Maintenance Enforcement, you can do so here.
My spouse has remarried, do I still pay child support for my children in their care?"Very likely. Child support can be paid by more than two parents in the cases where a third adult has stood in the place of a parent to a child. That relationship may create a requirement for support to be paid. In the end, the Court will apportion the amount of support to be paid by each parent depending on their incomes and other factors.