Child Support

How does Child Support work?

Child Support is where one parent pays the other parent money to help with the expenses of raising a child which include food, shelter, schooling, clothing, medical treatments, etc.

A parent may be biological, or someone who may have been acting as a ‘stand-in’ parent to the child (step-parent).

Child Support is the right of the child, and the parents may not waive the payment on behalf of their child.

If you do not have access to your child, you still are required to make Child Support payments. If you haven’t received Child Support payments, you may not deny access by the other parent to the child.

Child Support paid is not for your spouse – it is for your children. The children benefit from the increased money available to the household. You do not have control on where the money is spent. If the basic needs of the children are not being met, then contact Children’s Services.

There is an end to Child Support in typical circumstances (children with disabilities may require support for an extended period of time). You can end your marital relationship—but you will be a parent for the rest of your life.

You can look up child support amounts *here*.

How is Child Support calculated?

Child Support is calculated based on income and the number of children. For many people, a simple approach is to use the gross income as detailed on line 150 of the income tax return. However, there are many reasons why this may not be an accurate indication of income. Often times there are valid and necessary adjustments for union/professional dues, pension or income splitting, tax implications of receiving dividends, interest income, self-employment adjustments, gross-up of certain tax deductions, non-arms length transactions, working for cash, etc.

You can lookup the Child Support values using the Federal Child Support tables.

Once the income is determined, Child Support is made up of two amounts:

  • A specified monthly amount from a table (this is called section 3)
  • A proportionate share of extraordinary or special expenses (called section 7 expenses).  Section 7 expenses are unique to your child, which are not meant to be covered by section 3, and are generally not applicable to all children. Examples might include necessary medical and dental treatments, daycare, competitive hockey, post-secondary education, etc.

Where the children live is a factor in calculating Child Support.
If the children live with spouse A, then spouse B pays child support to A.

If they live with B, then A pays B.

If the children are approximately equal time with both A and B, then A normally pays B based on A’s income, B normally pays A based on their income.

An example: Suppose A is required to pay $1000/month in child support and B is required to pay $600 in child support. If the children are approximately shared equally, then after A and B pay each other, A is really paying B $400/month.

Shared means the children live 40% or more of the time with each parent in a given year.

In a shared arrangement, other factors including the increased cost of shared arrangements, as well as the ‘condition, means, needs, and other circumstances’ of each parent and child may be considered.

What happens if the children are in a shared parenting arrangement?

How is my share of extra expenses calculated?

The proportionate share of extraordinary expenses is normally calculated by taking the income for spouse A and dividing it by the total of both spouses’ incomes. If A makes $60,000/yr and B makes $40,000/yr, then the total family income is $100,000/yr. A would pay 60% of any extraordinary/special expense and B would pay 40%.

Only the net cost is shared — possible tax deductions or reimbursements by benefit plans must be taken into account.

The Child Support calculations cannot be deviated from easily; however, there are a few instances where the Child Support amount may be different than the calculations above. For example, there may be unusual expenses such as having to pay higher costs to have parenting time with a child because one parent has moved to a distant location; there is a shared parenting arrangement; or one parent may experience sudden and unexpected job loss resulting in extreme financial hardship in making the required child support payment.
Under these types of circumstances, exceptions may be made. But in most cases – the amounts come from the tables without modification.

How is my share of extra expenses calculated?

How long does Child Support last?

Child Support continues until either the child turns 18 or is able to become independent. Child Support continues to be payable if a child is unable to withdraw from parent’s control/charge for reasons such as disability, inability to obtain necessities of life or full-time attendance at post-secondary education.