Child support for children in Ontario is determined by using a government mandated table based on income called the Child Support Guidelines. A parent must pay child support if you are the non-custodial, and/or non-principal residence parent. The principal residence of the parent is the residence where a child generally lives.
In addition to the amounts set out in Child Support Guidelines there will likely be further expenses known as “special or extra-ordinary expenses”. These include items such as childcare, daycare, extraordinary medical expenses, private school and post-secondary education. These expenses are shared in proportion with your incomes. For example, if you earn twice as much as your spouse, you will pay 2/3 of the expenses, which is twice as much as what your spouse will pay (1/3 of the expense).
The Court generally implements the amounts set out in the Child Support Guidelines. However, there are situations where you may pay less child support. This may happen in cases where to pay the amount of Guideline support would cause undue hardship, where your child is 18 years or older, where your income is over $150,000, where there is shared custody, or where there are special provisions that benefit your child such as for example, paying directly for the expenses of the home where the child resides.
Support will end when the child is no longer considered dependant. This is not necessarily an easily determined point. Generally, you must pay child support for as long as your child is enrolled in school full-time. Once a child receives one degree or diploma, child support may be terminated at that time or a parent may be required to pay child support for a further degree or diploma.
Often parents are concerned as to how the child support is being spent. As a parent who pays child support, you have no control over how that money will be spent.
Your child support can be changed if there is a significant drop in your income or if your income increases. Even if you are not seeing your children, a parent has to pay child support. If you are being denied access to your children then contact a Family Lawyer to ensure that you are able to exercise this legal right.
You may even be responsible for child support as a step-parent if you have taken on the role of acting as parent to your spouse’s child.
Child support is a right of the children not a right of the parents and can not be given away by a parent. A child is entitled to child support. This provision is so strongly a party of our law that the court is required to ensure that the children have been adequately provided for before it is able to grant a divorce.
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While it seems that child support would be easily determined because of the Guidelines, there are numerous disputes and issues that can arise. These include issues such as determining the amount of income. This can happen with:
- • self-employed people
- • people who have a significant amount of assets which are invested
- • people being paid by commission or paid in cash, and
- • people whose income changes over time significantly
Often a company owner will only take a low salary. We have acted to establish that even though the company owner has a small income for income tax purposes, the actual amount of income used for support purposes has been increased significantly to take into account profits of the company itself. In addition, we have achieved success in having child support increased based on deductions which a self-employed parent has taken which have been added back into that persons income to increase the amount of child support.