What is child support
Child support is every child’s legal right. Whether married or unmarried parents separate or divorce, they have a legal duty to provide complete financial support to their dependent children.
After separation, the parents can decide as to which parent the child/children will reside with. If the parents are unable to decide regarding the children’s residential living arrangements, the Courts can be asked to intervene. The parent who primarily lives with the child/children usually bears most of the living expenses for them. The other parent has the legal responsibility to help with the children’s expenses by paying money to the parent primarily residing with the children. This money paid is called Child Support.
How is child support amount calculated?
The amount of child support to be paid is calculated based on the government’s Child Support Guidelines. As per the Child Support Guidelines, the child support is made up of two components:
- the table amount (a basic monthly child support amount that covers food, clothing and school supplies); and
- the amount for special and extraordinary expenses (usually called Section 7 expenses that covers child care expenses, health care expenses etc.).
What is Table amount?
Each province and territory in Canada have its Child Support Table. The Child Support Table shows the basic monthly amounts of child support payable based on the payor parent’s gross annual income of the payor parent and the number of children they have to support.
What is the purpose of the Child Support Guidelines?
The goals of the Child Support Guidelines include:
- Establishing a reasonable support standard to enable children to benefit from both parents’ incomes.
- Making child support amount objective to reduce conflict between the parents.
- Enabling similar treatment of parents and children in identical situations.
- Increasing efficiency of the child support process and creating more awareness amongst parents to encourage settlements.
What are Section 7 Or Special and Extraordinary Expenses?
Expenses for which child support can be payable over and above the basic Table amount.
The name is derived from the Section 7 in the Child Support Guidelines.
As per the Child Support Guidelines, an expense may be considered special and extraordinary expense, if it is:
- Necessary in the child’s best interests,
- Considered reasonable in light of the parents’ means, the child’s needs, and are in accordance with the spending pattern of the family before the separation.
The proof for Section 7 expenses (for example payment receipts and invoices) are required to apply for a court order.
Some examples of Section 7 of special and extraordinary expenses are:
- Expenses on child care arising from employment, disability, illness, education of a parent
- Dental and medical insurance premiums paid for child’s coverage.
- Health expenses of more than $100 a year (including hearing aids, glasses, braces, counselling, physiotherapy, speech therapy, prescriptions)
- Post-secondary education expenses for college or university (includes tuition fees, stationery, books, associated expenses)
- Special expenses in primary/secondary school meeting the child’s extraordinary needs (includes special needs schooling, programs or private schooling)
Special circumstances cover certain provisions benefiting the child directly or indirectly. The Court considers these particular situations to ensure that the child support amount is reasonable. It may happen that in some situations, the child support amount is not in line with the federal support guidelines, then a different and more suitable child support amount can be decided.
Child support agreements and orders
Parents can negotiate and settle the child support amount themselves based on the Child Support Guidelines. It is advisable that the parents mutually agree on decisions of child support keeping in mind their child’s best interests.
If the parents are unable to reach an agreement, Courts can be asked to intervene.
The child support agreement can be drafted addressing foreseeable changes in the children needs and circumstances in the future. The agreement can be made into a court order by applying to the court. The Child Support Orders are not final and can be varied.
How We Can Help
At Nanda & Associate Lawyers,our capable family law lawyers help in making effective representation for child support to ensure that the children’s best interests are maintained. Our lawyers make sure that they understand your specific circumstances and provide tailored and customized solutions for you. Many legal complexities exist in formulating child support plans, and an experienced family law lawyer can help you to navigate better.
Our Mississauga Family Lawyers are available for a no-obligation free consultation. Come and experience our quality legal counsel and personalized care we give to each client.