A child support order will dictate not only the amount that is to be paid, but also how and when the payments will be made. There are three main types of orders for child support; this article will discuss the different types as well as when each type of order is appropriate.

Interim Orders

An interim order is like a Band-Aid. It is designed to give you and your former spouse some temporary direction and guidance until you are able to get a long-term order from the court.  It will continue until a final order is granted, but the court maintains jurisdiction to change or vary an interim order that it is still in effect under exceptional circumstances. This is extremely rare, and most of the time the interim order will not be disturbed.

If you have an interim order for child support, the court is not required to use the same amount when it is determining your final order. In other words, the interim order is not binding on subsequent orders. These orders are temporary fixes to tide you over until you can get a final order.

Periodic and Lump Sum Orders

Technically, child support can be ordered in periodic payments or in a lump sum payment, although a lump sum award of child support is rare. In most cases, child support is determined by the applicable provincial or territorial table under the guidelines, which prescribes a monthly (periodic) payment amount.

In order for a court to award a lump sum, they have to deviate from the guidelines, which courts are often reluctant to do except in unique circumstances. Cases where this might be appropriate are cases in which the court has reason to believe the paying parent will not make the monthly payments. This can be because the parent has failed to meet support obligations in the past, or because they have a history of irresponsible money management.

In cases where a lump sum is appropriate the court is instructed to calculate the lump sum award by capitalizing the periodic (monthly) payments that would have been ordered. Occasionally the court will order a lump sum when making an order for retroactive child support, or where the parent is ordered to make a contribution to special or extraordinary expenses.

Orders to Pay and Secure Child Support 

The court has jurisdiction to make an order requiring a party to both pay and secure child support. The term “secure” simply refers to the notion that the paying party will have to pledge something as collateral, so to speak. Security can be in the form of either real or personal property, meaning that if you default on paying child support the court can seize the property. This type of order is only to be used when there is a significant risk of default.