Even after the parents have separated, children are legally entitled to receive financial and emotional support from their parents. Usually the parent who lives with the child for the least amount of time is required to pay child support to the other parent to help ensure that the child’s needs are met.
Child support is the money paid by one parent to the other parent as financial support for the children. The amount of child support can be agreed to in a separation agreement, but if the parents cannot agree, they can seek an order from the court to decide how child support is to be paid.
Family Law Act : Part 7 Child support
Child support is paid for a child who is:
A college student or an adult child with serious health problems might still be entitled to child support, even though they are over 19.
Stepparents may also need to pay child support.
Under the Divorce Act, a spouse of the parent would need to pay support if they had a parent-like relationship with the child
Under the Family Law Act, a spouse of the parent would need to pay support if:
a) They lived with the child
The court uses the Federal Child Support Guidelines to help determine the amounts of child support owing. The values in the guidelines are based on:
It is rare for a court to award child support that is significantly different than those set out in the CGS. If the amount from the CGS would cause you undue hardship, you may ask the court to reduce the amount of child support needing to be paid. Showing hardship is not enough. You must prove it is undue hardship. Courts have said that "undue" means excessive, exceptional, or disproportionate. This is not an easy thing to prove.
When a child lives with both parents 40% of the time or more, most often child support is calculated by figuring out what they would each pay to the other if they were the primary parent. The difference between the two is what the higher income earning parent pays. If there is little difference between the parent’s incomes, neither will have to pay child support. You will need to know both parents’ incomes.
In addition to Child Support, parents are obligated to pay for their children's special expenses such as dental and medical care, as well as educational and extracurricular activity costs. Special or Extraordinary Expenses are often called s7 expenses because they are discussed in s. 7 of the Child support Guidelines.
Parents usually share the cost of the following special or extraordinary expenses:
Whether an expense is considered special or extraordinary depends on the parents’ financial circumstances, the nature and number of the activities and the child’s special talents and needs. This means dance lessons for one child might be a special or extraordinary expense, while not for another child.
Usually both parents must contribute to the cost of special and extraordinary expenses in proportion to their incomes.
Temporary child support can be sought with an Interim Order. This is useful if you can’t reach an agreement over child support and are facing a long wait before your trial. To learn more about how to do this see Chapter 8.3.
For details on how to calculate these expenses refer back to Child Support in Chapter 2.
Before moving to the next section, do the Child Support Exercise.