Child Support 101

May 22nd, 2012 by

“Do I have to pay child support?” This is a question family lawyers hear almost every day. The short answer is yes, parents have a legal responsibility to financially support their children. Child support itself, however, is paid by the parent who does not have day-to-day care of the child to assist the other parent who provides the day-to-day care to the child and thus carries the associated costs.

The amount of child support you will have to pay is calculated using the Child Support Guidelines, which solely uses the amount you earn and the number of children for whom you are paying support. The income level of the other parent (aka the recipient) is irrelevant to determining the basic amount you will owe. Go to http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/fcy-fea/lib-bib/legis/fcsg-lfpae/2011/index.html to see the table of figures and find your ballpark amount.

This figure, however, is not final and you may have to pay more. Special expenses, such as daycare, medical expenses, private school, post-secondary education, etc., are not included. These are added to the amount and are shared by you and your spouse in proportion with your incomes.

These Tables in the Guidelines, however, assume that the child spends the majority of his or her time with the parent who is receiving the child support. You may be able to reduce the amount of child support you owe, if you have “shared” parenting. Under section 9 of the Child Support Guidelines, an exception to the standard calculation of child support is permitted when the child spends over 40% of their time with each parent. The appropriate amount of support is then determined based on what each parent is or should be paying on the children’s expenses. You should note, however, that time spent in school, away on holidays, with friends does not count as time taken away from the custodial parent.

For more information, please contact one of the family lawyers at DSF.


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