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Ontario Child Support

"Do I have to pay child support?"
Normally yes, you must pay child support, if you are the non-custodial or non-principal residence parent.

"How much child support do I have to pay?"
This is determined by using a table called the Child Support Guidelines. The amount you pay is determined by the province in which you live, the amount you earn, and the number of children for whom you are paying support.

"Will I have to pay more than the amount required by the Ontario Child Support Guidelines?"
Often, yes. This will be the case if your children have any expenses known as "special or extraordinary expenses." These include items such as childcare, daycare, extraordinary medical expenses, private school and post-secondary education. You and your spouse will share these expenses in proportion with your incomes. For instance, if you earn twice as much as your spouse, you will pay 2/3 of the expenses, which is twice as much as what your spouse will pay (1/3 of the expenses)."

"Can I pay less than the amount required by the Ontario Child Support Guidelines?"
Normally, no. The court is quite strict about using the Ontario Child Support Guidelines. Even if you enter a new relationship and are responsible for the costs of a new family, this may not reduce your child support payments.

However, there are some ways to pay less child support than the amount required by the Ontario Child Support Guidelines, such as where the Guidelines cause undue hardship, where your child is 18 or older, where your income is over $150,000, where there is shared custody, or where there are special provisions that benefit your children.

"When does child support end?"
Normally, you must pay child support as long as your children are enrolled in school full-time. This often includes paying child support while your children are in college or university earning their first post-secondary degree or diploma. There have even been a few cases that have required child support to be paid for longer than this.

"Is child support tax deductible?"
If the agreement or order for child support was made after May 1, 1997, child support payments are not deductible for the payor and not taxable for the recipient. If the agreement or order for child support was made before May 1, 1997, the parent who pays child support can deduct this and the parent who receives child support must pay income tax on the amount received."

"Do I have any control over how the child support is used?"
No, you have no control over how the child support is used. Since the court has found your former partner capable of looking after your children, the court assumes your former partner is capable of looking after the child support money too.

"Can my child support payments be changed?"
Yes. Child support payments can be changed any time you experience a change in circumstances, such as a significant drop in your income.

"I'm being denied access to my children. Can I stop paying child support?"
No. Only the court can change the amount of child support that you must pay. If your former partner is denying you access to the children, contact a family lawyer to ensure that you can exercise your legal rights.

"My partner and I were never married. Am I still responsible for child support?"
Yes. The law for child support is the same, regardless of whether you were married or in a common-law relationship.

"How far back can I ask a court for child support?"
Generally, a court won't order child support back beyond the date that the application for child support is made, unless the other parent has done something blameworthy to delay your claim. So, if you are entitled to child support, it is important that you see a family law lawyer and pursue your claim right away.

"I am about to remarry. Will my new spouse's income be included in determining the table amount of child support I must pay?"
No.

HOW WE CAN HELP YOU

Canadian child support may seem to be a simple issue, as the child support guidelines set out how much child support is payable for a given income and the number of children. But there are numerous disputes that can arise. Behrendt Law Chambers has dealt with these many times before.

Amount of income in dispute
The amount of income someone earns can be in dispute. This is especially so for:

  • self-employed people
  • people with a significant amount of investment income
  • people paid by commission
  • people who are paid in cash
  • people whose income fluctuates, and
  • people paid in non-traditional ways such as through stock option
Company owner only taking low salary
In one case, the wife of Behrendt Law Chambers' client claimed that she had only a modest income, despite being the majority owner of a large company. Behrendt Law Chambers showed that the company had profits that it could easily pay out as income to her.

Self-employed professional
In another case, Behrendt Law Chambers showed that his client's wife's income was substantially higher than claimed on her tax return. As a self-employed professional, she had claimed all sorts of deductions. These deductions had to be added back to her income for child support purposes.

Special and extraordinary expenses in dispute
The issue of special and extraordinary expenses can be in dispute. For a family of modest means, the costs of hockey equipment and lessons can be a burden, whereas for a wealthier family, these expenses are common. Behrendt Law Chambers has many times successfully obtained child support to help children get involved in important extracurricular activities.

Child Support Guidelines need not be followed
If a person spends more than 40% of the time with his or her children, then the Guidelines do not need to be followed. Behrendt Law Chambers has successfully obtained lower child support payments for parents who are devoted to their children, and spend a significant amount of time with them.

Child Support Varied
Behrendt Law Chambers' client lost his job. The wife of our client would not agree to a reduction in child support, arguing that our client was intentionally unemployed. We got a court order suspending his client's obligation to pay child support until he found a new job, and reducing the arrears of child support his client owed.

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