WHAT IS CHILD SUPPORT?
When parents separate, they both have an
obligation to support their children financially.
What law provides for the payment of child support?
There are two pieces of legislation that help to determine entitlement
and the amount of child support payable:
What factors influence the
amount of child support
Several factors influence the calculation of child support, including the question of where the child resides, the child’s age, the income of the parents, and the number of children.
To whom is child support
The parent who has parenting time with the child (in other words, the child is in their physical custody) 60% or more of the time is entitled to child support from the other parent. This is because the recipient parent is the one who will incur most of the daily expenses associated with raising the child.
The situation can become more complex if both parents have parenting time (physical custody) of the child more than 40% and less than 60% of the time ( “shared parenting time”). The law considers a variety of circumstances to be taken into account in such a situation to determine the amount of child support payable. The court could order no child support, full child support, or something in between, but generally parents end up paying an “offset” amount whereby the higher-earning parent pays the difference in their child support obligations to the lower-earning parent.
How is the amount of child support payable determined?
There are two categories to cover the expenses of the child:
Child Support. The amount of basic child support payable is calculated using the child support tables of the Child Support Guidelines.
Section 7 (Special and Extraordinary) Expenses. These include costs such as childcare, high-end extracurricular activities, medical and dental (after insurance), and educational expenses. Generally, both parents should contribute to Section 7 expenses in proportion to their respective incomes. Section 7 expenses must be reasonable in relation to the financial circumstances of the parents and needs of each child.
Is child support mandatory?
In Ontario, children have the legal right to child support. Parents may try to contractually waive child support, only to later find that the court will require it.
The Child Support Guidelines provide the considerations and basic amounts of support payable, but courts may substitute their own decision for child support. The courts will almost invariably apply the Child Support Guidelines to calculate child support (subject to certain very limited exceptions, such as undue financial hardship).
How long does a parent have to pay child support?
In most cases, child support must be paid at least until the child reaches the age of 18 (subject to some limited exceptions). The obligation to pay child support may continue for adult children (over 18 years of age) in cases where the child is unable to independently support themselves due to certain circumstances. Examples could include a child over the age of 18 who is ill, who has a disability, or is in the pursuit of post-secondary education. In these cases, various factors will determine when child support ends. In the case of a disabled child, child support may only end once the parents pass away or the child is living independently.
Why should I hire a family law lawyer to assist me in making or
defending against a claim for child support?
Child support can be a challenging and contentious issue. While no parent wants to deny their child the financial support they need, both parents still have to look out for their own financial affairs and interests. This often makes the issue of child support an emotionally-charged and highly-contested matter, which could affect children and cause them to suffer emotionally and financially if not handled with care. Stephen Durbin & Associates can provide you with the advice you need to determine and resolve any child support dispute.
There are many specific variables that require the insight of an expereinced family law lawyer. Parenting arrangements, financial contributions by the child, undisclosed income and assets, and claims of undue financial hardship, are all potential factors that make the determination of child support more complex and will impact the amount of child support payable.
Consider the following:
Do you have a clear picture of the other parent’s income? The amount of “income” of a parent is not always simply the amount shown on their tax return. Investment income, business income, trust income, and disability income also need to be considered in the calculation of child support. Further, you need a lawyer, perhaps teamed with a financial professional, to help determine when a parent may be intentionally unemployed, underemployed, or underreporting income, so that their income can be recalculated or “imputed” in order for the proper amount of child support to be paid.
Do you or the other parent have high value and complex assets and income streams? The calculation of child support can become especially complex when a parent is not merely earning a set salary. For example, a parent may run their own business, earn cash “under the table”, or have income from other sources. Deducted expenses may be added as income. Deductions claimed for tax purposes may not be allowed for purposes of child support. Some income from income-producing assets is considered part of a parent’s income for purposes of child support. Therefore, it is often necessary to uncover hidden assets in order to make a proper calculation of income for the purpose of child support. This may require certified business valuators to be retained. At the very least, full and frank financial disclosure is required.
Do your children need support after they turn 18? The Child Support Guidelines will not necessarily apply where a child is over 18 years and away at school, there is shared parenting, or even sometimes for some disabilities if the child can be self-sufficient. In these situations, not only can determining income be a challenge, but so can determining the effect of these more complex factors on whether, and how much, child support is payable.
We recognize that determining a fair arrangement for child support, one that protects the best interests of the child without putting a financial strain on either parent, can be a complex process. We are strong believers in using resolution-oriented negotiation to reach a compromise that everyone can accept. However, we are prepared to take a stand when necessary, including fighting for your and your children’s rights in court.
Find a Child Support Lawyer in Ontario
Are you ready to hire a child support lawyer in Ontario? Now’s the time to contact our family law firm online or via phone at 1-855-544-5222.
Stephen Durbin & Associate’s team of child support lawyers specialize in assisting parents with separation and divorce-related issues such as child support and Section 7 (special and extraordinary) expenses. We provide experienced legal counsel and representation to help ensure your and your children’s rights and interests are protected.
It only takes a minute to schedule a consultation. From there, SD&A’s entire team is here to answer your questions and provide you with effective guidance and advice. It is our goal to bring you some peace of mind during this difficult time.
CONTACT A CHILD CUSTODY LAWYER NOW
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