Caring Child Support Lawyers
Our family lawyers are committed to assisting with your child support and extraordinary expenses. We always put the children’s needs first and ensure that they are taken care of, while working towards a resolution for you.
Some of the common questions we hear when dealing with child support is:
- Do I have to pay child support?
- Am I am paying too much child support?
- My ex is underemployed, what do I do?
- My ex is avoiding child support, how can I get him/her to pay?
- How do I get child support “back pay” (retroactive child support)?
- Does my ex still have to pay support even though he/she doesn’t see the kids?
- Do I still have to pay support if I don’t see the kids?
- Does my new partner’s income affect child support?
- Can I stop paying child support?
- What is Child Support?
Child support requires at least one parent to pay support each month to the other parent to help your children have the same quality of life they would if you were still together.
The courts look at your yearly income and determine the amount you are to pay according to the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Which parent pays child support is determined by the amount of time the child is spending with each parent.
The Guidelines are there to help set out a fair standard for support of the children, reduce the conflict between the parents when it comes to fighting over financial support for the children, assist the courts in determining the correct amount for child support and to make sure children are treated the same in similar circumstances.
What is your Guideline income?
There are different ways that the court can determine your guideline income. One way is by looking at line 150 your T1 Income Tax Return.
In some cases the Judge might impute an income if the parent is unemployed or underemployed and has the ability to earn more income than they are.
If a parent is receiving income from Workers Compensation, Social Assistance or other means and are not paying income tax, the Judge might “gross up” the income so it is the same income as a parent who is paying taxes.
In order to determine the Guideline amount of child support, parents should provide each other with their tax returns once a year by June 30th of every year. This helps you determine how much you should be paying, if you made an over payment or under payment and whether or not you need to recalculate support going forward.
Child Support in Various Parenting Arrangements
In a sole parenting arrangement, they will look at the income of non-resident parent to determine how much he/she should be paying. For example:
- Susie and Derek have two children
- Susie makes $45,000 per year and has both of the children full time
- Derek has the children every second weekend and makes $75,000 per year
- Derek would pay Susie $1,094 per month for child support for two children of the marriage.
In a shared parenting arrangement, they look at what each party is making, then subtract the child support from each other. For example:
- Susie makes $45,000 per year, she would need to make a child support payment to Derek in the amount of $653 per month
- Derek makes $75,000 per year, he would need to make a child support payment in the amount of $1,094
- Derek would pay Susie the difference of $441 per month in child support.
In a split parenting arrangement, where each parent has primary care of at least one of the children, then each party will pay child support for the child that is not in their care. For example:
- Susie is the primary parent for one child and Derek has primary care of the other child
- Susie makes $45,000 per year, she would pay Derek $367.00 a month in child support
- Derek makes $75,000 per month, he would pay Susie $650 a month in child support
- Derek would pay $283 per month to Susie in child support.
When you pay child support you are also responsible to pay for other things in your child’s life that are considered extraordinary expenses and are not covered under regular child support.
The Court calls this Section 7 child support and typically includes the following:
- child care expenses incurred as a result of either parties’ employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment;
- that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the children;
- health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
- extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the children’s particular needs; and
- extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities.
To calculate these items, the court looks at both parties incomes to determine how much each parent should be paying. In Derek’s and Susie’s case, Derek would be responsible for 62.5 % of the extraordinary expenses, with Susie being responsible for 37.5% of the expenses.
Child support is paid until the child is no longer considered a child of the marriage. There are many determining factors that decide when the child ceases to be a child of the marriage, such as whether the the child over the age of 18, whether or not the child is attending post-secondary education, mental capacity or is the child self-sufficient. Child support does not necessarily end when the child turns 18 years old.
Retroactive Child Support and Overpayment
Some families go to Court when there have been no payments of child support, which results in a claim for retroactive support. In these cases a parent has been underpaying for child support by not been paying according to their income. In most cases, you can only go back three years for retroactive child support.
In some cases, parents have paid more child support than in accordance with their guideline income, resulting in an overpayment of child support. This can happen when you have changed jobs, when you have been laid off, or you don’t work as many hours as you did at the time child support has been calculated.
Maintenance Enforcement Program
Child support is collected with the assistance of the Maintenance Enforcement Program (MEP). This program assists the recipients of support receive the correct amount of child support and track the payments made by the paying party. Further, within the Maintenance Enforcement Program you can also register for the Recalculation Program which is designed to help you avoid an overpayment or underpayment.
If you need assistance with your child support issues we would be happy to help. Please contact us today to book a consultation with us.