Child Support in “Non-traditional” Parenting Arrangements

April 28th, 2014 by Dan Stone

Custody of childQuestions often arise as to whether child support will be owed in “non-traditional” parenting situations, in addition to “by whom” and “how much”? Many parents involved in custody and access disputes suggest these scenarios because they think it will mean that they will not have to pay child support to the other party.

The “traditional” child support scenarios, contemplated when children have their primary residence with one parents while only having smaller amounts of time, or “access” with the other parent, are becoming less and less frequent. Today, situations or shared, split, parallel or other “outside the box” parenting schedules are being considered in order to maximize a child’s time with both parents.

It may surprise you to learn that a complete wash of child support in these scenarios is the exception rather than the rule. Most often there is still child support owing by one Party to the other. In these time sharing arrangements, most often it is a case of setting off one child support obligation against the other. This means that one parent will look at their obligation for child support under the guidelines at their income level in a “traditional scenario”, and the other parent’s income and obligation under the guidelines in the “traditional scenario” and subtract the lower obligation from the higher. The difference between the two amounts, is the amount of support owed by the higher earning parent to the lower earning parent. This ensures that all children of the relationship benefit from each parents’ income.

As previously stated, this is the common method, but as with every scenario in family law, what works best for each family is different, and there are always exceptions to the rule. To determine whether your situation may be the exception to the rule, you should discuss your particular circumstances with a family law lawyer.

For more information on child support and non-traditional family arrangements or other areas of family law, please contact one of Devry Smith Frank’s Toronto family lawyers.


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