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Understanding the Federal Child Support Guidelines:

Effective December 31, 2011

New Federal Child Support Guideline table amounts have been announced by the federal government. They will take effect December 31, 2011. The new tables are part of the Canadian government’s commitment to review the table amounts every five years at a minimum. Amounts increase in some cases and decrease in others, depending on income levels and the effect of federal and provincial tax rules. Each province and territory has its own tables.

How do you know which Child Support Guidelines apply to you?

The Federal Child Support Guidelines apply if you are already divorced or planning to divorce. Provincial and territorial laws, and provincial and territorial child support guidelines, apply if you are not married to each other, and are separated, or you are married to each other and are separated, or planning to separate, but have decided not to divorce.

If you are divorcing and you will pay or receive child support and:

a) you and the other parent both live in Ontario, then the Federal Child Support Guidelines apply to you; b) you and the other parent live in different provinces or territories, then the Federal Child Support Guidelines apply to you; and c) one parent lives in Canada and the other parent does not, then the Federal Child Support Guidelines apply to you.

If you are already divorced and you or the other parent wants to change child support and: a) you live in Ontario, then the Federal Child Support Guidelines apply to you; b) you and the other parent live in different provinces or territories, then the Federal Child Support Guidelines apply to you; and c) one parent lives in Canada and the other parent does not, then the Federal Child Support Guidelines apply to you.

If you were never married, then the provincial or territorial child support guidelines apply to you.

The new federal tables

The updated tables are not yet available for publication, but when they are available, they will be found athttp://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/fcy-fea/lib-bib/legis/fcsg-lfpae/2011/pdf.html

In the meantime, a child support calculator using the updated tables is at:

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/fcy-fea/lib-bib/tool-util/apps/look-rech/index.asp

The updated tables will not automatically change the child support amounts set out in an existing order or agreement. For parties who already have child support arrangements in place, the old table amounts remain valid until either:

a) the next time the child support is scheduled to change as per the agreement or order; OR b) one or the other party applies to a court to have the child support changed provided the Federal tables were used to determine the original order or agreement and if using the updated tables would change the amount of child support.

If the parties do not yet have child support arrangements in place, the new tables must be applied.

Provinces that have child support recalculation services will use the updated Federal tables to recalculate amounts after December 31, 2011. Ontario has no such service.

For further information on the new guidelines, please do not hesitate to contact me.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY PRATHAM BOOKS

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