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All parents are required to provide financial support to their children.  This obligation applies to all parents whether they are married, in a relationship or not.  Similarly, you are required to support your children whether or not they live with you or there is regularly contact with them.  Child support is a regular, ongoing payment made by one parent to the other for the support of their children.  Under Ontario law, there are guidelines that provide the basis for determining the amount of child support that must be paid by each parent.  The payment is based significantly on the parents’ income and the number of children they have.  This article will outline how child support works in Ontario. 


How Does Child Support Work in Ontario?

 Child support is an obligation of every parent regardless of the family’s living arrangements.  This includes birth parents, adoptive parents, and in some cases, even step-parents.  It is a payment typically made by one parent to the other for the purpose of caring for the parents’ mutual children.   It is made on a periodic and continuing basis until a time outlined by mutual agreement or by court order.  Sometimes the amount of child support is determined by an agreement between the parents in a separation agreement, paternity agreement or some other domestic agreement under the Family Law Act or Divorce Act, but it is often determined by a judge and set out in a court order.  


Who Is Responsible for Paying Child Support?

The Family Law Act and Divorce Act of Ontario define who a parent is and who may legally be required to pay child support.  These individuals include birth parents, adoptive parents, step-parents, and other individuals with a parent-like relationship with the child.  

While it may be obvious that birth parents and adoptive parents are required to financially support their children, in some cases where a step-parent has demonstrated a “settled intention” to treat the child as a member of his or her family, they may be required to make child support payments to the child’s other parent based on a history of support.  

What Is Child Support Supposed to Cover?

Ontario law intends that child support be used to cover the basic costs of caring for a child and providing them with their necessities including food, clothing, school costs, transportation costs as well as a portion of housing and utility costs.  

Further, the Child Support Guidelines state that certain special expenses be considered when calculating child support payments in light of the bests interests of the child and the reasonableness of the expense in light of the parent’s income and previous family spending habits.  These special/extraordinary expenses may include: 

  • Medical and dental premiums;
  • Uncovered healthcare costs;
  • Extracurricular activities;
  • Primary and secondary education costs;
  • Childcare costs resulting from the employment, education, training, illness, or disability of the parent with the majority of the parenting time.

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Contact The Family Law Lawyer at Gelman & Associates Today!

Children are entitled to the financial support of their parents within that parent’s means and abilities.  Ontario’s child support guidelines provide the basis for calculating required child support.  Sometimes the parents may use these guidelines to create an agreement governing child support and sometimes a judge will issue a court order on the topic.  In either case, the counsel of experienced family lawyers will provide invaluable assistance as every case has its own unique set of facts and circumstances.  Information about the basics of child support can be found at lisagelman.com. Contact the lawyers at Gelman & Associates to speak to a qualified family lawyer about your child support matter.  

FAQs on What Covers Child Support in Ontario

If a payor parent fails to make their child support payments, they may be ordered to pay arrears.  If you continue to miss your payments, the Family Responsibility Office may issue a writ of seizure and sale against your property or garnish your wages or funds from your bank accounts in an effort to collect what is owed.

Factors impacting the amount of child support payments include the income of the parents, the number of children involved, as well as the parenting plan and living arrangements of the family and any special expenses associated with the child.

Yes.  In Canada every parent has the obligation to provide financial support to his or her children.

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