Facts about child support can get lost in translation, especially when you’re getting your information from others going through a divorce with children involved. In order to prepare yourself, it is crucial that you get the correct information about the laws in Canada related to child support.
Find below a list of seven common questions and answers regarding child support. If you have further, more detailed questions, seek advice from a divorce lawyer.
1. What is child support?
Child support is money paid to the other spouse to support a child financially after a divorce or separation. Laws related to child support are in place based on the concept that both parents should share the cost of raising a child. The payments are made on a monthly basis by the parent who does not have primary care of the child.
2. How is the monthly child support payment amount determined?
The amount of monthly child support payments is determined using the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines take into account the income, province and number of children. Quebec has unique guidelines for child support payments, all other provinces follow the Federal guidelines.
The amount that is paid is subject to alterations if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as income changes and changes in residence of the children. Each parent has the right to proof of the other individual’s income once a year to determine if adjustments are needed to child support payments.
3. How long are child support payments required?
Child support payments cease once the child reaches 18 years of age. However, if the child is unable to support themselves, such as due to an illness or attendance to school full-time, an exception may be made. Generally, child support payments do not go past a child’s completion of a four-year post-secondary education program.
4. What other costs can I expect?
It depends on your what your child chooses to do with their life. Any material costs are split based on both spouses income levels, although, some spouses agree to split the costs equally regardless of their income.
If your child attends a post-secondary school, the costs are split between both spouses based on their level of income. More often than not, the child will contribute as well.
If your child participates in extracurricular activities that are intensive, thereby being expensive, the costs are often split between both spouses based on their income levels. This includes daycare, before and after school care, summer camps and other related activities.
Health and medical costs that are not covered by OHIP or insurance plans are also split based on the income level of the spouses.
5. How are child support payments made?
Child support payments are made through post-dated cheques or electronic transfers. The payment timing is aligned with the individual’s paydays.
6. Can I make child support payments to my child directly?
Usually, child support payments are made to the other parent who then manages the money on behalf of the child. Unfortunately, it is not up to you to decide where the child support payments go.
A judge will analyze the circumstances and, in rare cases, may order that child support payments be made directly to the child, so long as the child is a reasonable age.
7. What if I don’t want child support payments from my spouse?
Child support payments are the child’s right, it is not related to the parents, the payments are required by law. Judges may refuse a divorce if there is not adequate financial support evidence for the child.