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Child Support: The Basics

In Ontario the Child Support Guidelines are used to calculate and determine the monthly child support amounts paid by one parent to the other for the benefit of the child(ren).  Parents are legally obligated to support all of their dependent children. This is required as long as the child is a minor (under 18) or if over the age of 18 and is living at home and enrolled in full time education.  Children over the age of 18 with disabilities may remain dependents, and thus be entitled to child support.  A person may also be obligated to pay support even if the person is not the biological parent, but has stood in the place of the biological parent, as a step-parent.

The Gelman & Associates website has a helpful Child Support Calculator which can provide you with an approximate calculation of a child support obligation based on your current financial situation.

CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES

Once the child(ren)’s primary residency is established, the Child Support Guidelines are referred to in order to determine the monthly support amount to be paid by the parent who does not have the child(ren) primarily residing with them.  The Child Support Guidelines is essentially a Table/Chart whereby Support is calculated based on the gross income of the parent paying support and the number of children support is to be paid for.  It is important to note that gross income includes among other things, stock options, bonuses, overtime, investment income, rental income, etc.

SPECIAL & EXTRAORDINARY EXPENSES

In addition to the Child Support Guidelines there is another type of child support that is commonly referred to as “s. 7 special and extraordinary expenses”.  These expenses are over and above the minimum table amounts required according to the Child Support Guidelines and are paid by the parents.  Should the child(ren) have additional expenses that are extraordinary or special, both parents will be obligated to contribute to such expenses in proportion to their respective incomes.  A few examples of s. 7 special and extraordinary expenses are: daycare costs, tutoring fees, extracurricular activities, dental/medical expenses and post-secondary educational costs.

SHARED PARENTING

It is becoming more common for both parents to equally parent the child(ren).  In recent years we have seen a significant increase in a “shared parenting” approach whereby the child(ren) reside equally with both parents (shared custody).  The child or children basically have two homes and spend equal time with their parents.

Lastly, unlike spousal support, child support is not tax deductible by the payor and not deemed taxable income by the recipient.

Related: Child Support: The Details

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