Child Support – How Does it All Work?

What is child support?

Child support is the amount one parent pays to another for the support of a child.

Why is child support important?

Child support is important because children need the financial support of BOTH parents, even after separation.  It is the child’s right, not the parent’s, and both parents have a financial obligation to support their children.

What are child support guidelines?

Child support guidelines are the set of rules set out by the government – these guidelines are law.  Parents may both decide on another amount – higher or lower – based on what is best for their children.  However, if you ask a Judge to decide, they will usually set child support based on these guidelines unless there are special circumstances.  View child support guidelines at http://tinyurl.com/oep3sf5.

What are child support tables?

The child support tables calculate the basic amount of child support based on the gross annual income of the paying parent and the number of children.  The tables take taxes into account and each province and territory has their own tables.  Go to the child support lookup to calculate basic child support at http://tinyurl.com/mnu7m4o.

How do I figure out my gross annual income for child support?

Gross annual income is usually found on Line 150 of your Notice of Assessment.  There are circumstances when gross annual income may not be the most accurate reflection of a person’s income.  For example, if someone is self-employed and they can deduct certain expenses for their business or it does not reflect their most current income.  If a person’s income fluctuates from year-to-year, a 3 year average may be taken as well.    

Is child support affected by our custody arrangement?

Child support is calculated differently depending on who the child lives with: Shared custody – If a child lives with each parent at least 40% of the time over the course of a year, then child support will be based on both parents’ incomes. Sole custody – If a child lives with one parent more than 60% of the time over the course of a year, then child support will be based on the other parent’s gross annual income. Split custody – Split custody is when there are two or more children and there is at least one child living with one parent a minimum of 60% of the time and at least one child living with the other parent a minimum of 60% of the time over the course of a year.  

What are special expenses?

Special expenses for children include child-care expenses, health-care premiums, health-care needs, extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities and education and sometimes post-secondary expenses.  These expenses are in addition to the basic child support amount calculated using the tables.  The parents generally share these expenses based on a ratio of their incomes regardless of which parent the child lives with.  Sometimes the parents may decide to share these expenses in a different way.  Most of the time, parents need to both agree to special expenses that they will be sharing between them.

Once child support is set, does it remain the same year after year?

Generally, parents will do an annual review for child support each year.  If there has been a considerable change to one or both parents’ incomes, the parents can adjust child support based on the child support tables.  Special expenses can be reviewed annually or whenever needed as well.

Questions about child support or special expenses for your children? Contact us today for your free phone consultation. Book your appointment online at http://tinyurl.com/p3tmvgk or contact our office directly at 780-417-3119.

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