Every parent has an obligation to provide child support for his/her children. The amount of child support is determined by the Child Support Guidelines. The Child Support Guidelines provide a relatively straightforward and predictable tool for support determination. They utilize the income of the child support payor and the number of children, among other variables, to identify the child support amount.
Please visit the “Resources For You” section of our website for on-line resources that allow you to access the Child Support Guidelines. However, be aware that there are many variations and exceptions to a basic Child Support Guidelines evaluation. Child support values that you obtain from online tools should be evaluated with your child support lawyer.
Paying Less or More than the Guideline Amount
The child support amount payable under the Child Support Guidelines is generally called “table amount” child support. There are special circumstances in which the child support to be paid will be less than or more than the table amount. This can occur when there is financial hardship for the child support payor or the child support recipient; an unusually high level of debt; special needs of the children or a significant distance between the parent’s residences, among other factors. There is some complexity in determining whether you meet these special circumstances. You should consult with a child support lawyer to make this assessment.
The determination of income for child support purposes is not always straightforward. For example, income for child support purposes is not necessarily the same as income for income tax purposes or business purposes Where a parent:
- earns income that varies significantly from year to year;
- earns overtime, bonuses or commissions;
- earns business income;
- earns dividends; or
- has received atypical income, such as a capital gain or income from the cashing of an RRSP
or in other special circumstances, it is best to obtain the assistance of a child support lawyer to identify your income for child support purposes.
In addition to the basic or table amount child support, each parent will contribute to certain “special expenses” or “extraordinary expenses of the children. These include:
- child care expenses;
- uninsured medical expenses,;
- certain extra-curricular activity expenses; and
- certain educational expenses, including post-secondary educational expenses.
Not every expense that falls in to one of these categories will be shared as an add-on expense. Our child support lawyers can assist you in identifying and valuing your contribution to appropriate add-on expenses.