Child Support

In most situations, determining who is eligible to receive support, who pays, how much they pay and for how long is straightforward.

Who is eligible to receive support?

The parent with whom a child primarily resides will receive monthly child support from the other parent. It is assumed the parent who receives support will contribute to the support of the child.

Who pays ?

A parent must pay child support for his or her child, under 18 years of age and who remains in the charge of the parents. The scheme is gender neutral.

The definition of the term "child" is key. The Guidelines define a child as a "child of the marriage". This includes those who "stand in the place of parents". This means that a person who is not the biological parent of the child may still have a duty to provide for the child if that person has in the past taken on responsibility for that child. Most often, this applies to step-parents regarding a step-child.

How much and for how long?

The guideline table determines support based on the annual income of the parent who pays and the number of children to whom the award applies. There are exceptions to this rule when:

  • the child is over the age of majority and is unable to support themselves due to illness, disability or enrollment in post secondary education;
  • the payor earns more than $150,000 annually;
  • the payor is not the biological parent of the child;
  • the parents have split custody of the children, with both parents having more than 40% time;
  • awarding the table amount would cause undue hardship to the payor

In addition to the guideline table amount, both parents may be required to contribute to the special or extra-ordinary expenses of the children; child care expenses, extra-curricular activities, private school tuition. This contribution is proportionate to the parent's income. In determining income, if the parent is a salaried employee, line 150 of their annual Income Tax Return is used to determine support (which is based on "before tax" income). If the parent is self-employed, income is more difficult to determine but there are many safeguards in place to determine actual income available. When a parent is intentionally under-employed or unemployed or refuses to fully disclose, income can be imputed.