Hi there. I've been struggling with this concept for some time and would love to hear others' opinions on the matter.

I currently have an agreement in place with my ex that follows standard Federal Guidelines. We have 2 children and 50/50 shared custody, and I earn quite a bit more than she does: the federal tables suggest my contribution to support is about $1100 and hers is about $400.

Now, with the standard offset, I'm paying her $700, and that's what I've been doing for years. I've been really struggling with my budget, living paycheque to paycheque, never having enough for unexpected expenses (dental, car repairs etc), no credit, and *never* any hope for any kind of savings.

It got me looking at the match of the offset method, and it just doesn't makes sense to me!

The federal tables are supposed to represent how much a person with a certain income *should* spend on child care, regardless of custody arrangements:

"The child support amounts in the tables reflect what parents living in the same province, with the same incomes and the same number of children would spend on their children." (About Child Support in Canada)

So of my $1100 that I should have earmarked for my kids, I'm giving $700 to my ex, leaving me with $400 to spend on them when they're with me. On the other hand, my ex has her $400 from her own income, plus my $700, so she gets $1100 to spend on them when they're with her!!

In other words, we've swapped roles ... she gets my table amount to spend on the kids, and I get her table amount. If I earn more, it does *nothing* to help my budget, as the set-off calculation always gives her whatever the tables say *I* should pay, and I'm stuck with only whatever she earns.

Whenever trying to talk to lawyers or counsellors all I get back is: "That's what the guidelines say, if you think it's unfair, take it to a judge." And that's what I'll do, I guess, but I'm afraid no-one will look at the actual *logic* of this, and just say: "Everyone uses the set-off method. That's what the guidelines say."

Please help me understand how the set-off method is fair, and if there's any hope in doing something more reasonable like, say, *splitting* the set-off amount, so we'd both end up with equal amounts to spend on the kids when they're at our homes. (In my case I'm suggesting I pay her $350 instead of $700, so we both end up with $750 to spend on the kids.)

I currently have an agreement in place with my ex that follows standard Federal Guidelines. We have 2 children and 50/50 shared custody, and I earn quite a bit more than she does: the federal tables suggest my contribution to support is about $1100 and hers is about $400.

Now, with the standard offset, I'm paying her $700, and that's what I've been doing for years. I've been really struggling with my budget, living paycheque to paycheque, never having enough for unexpected expenses (dental, car repairs etc), no credit, and *never* any hope for any kind of savings.

It got me looking at the match of the offset method, and it just doesn't makes sense to me!

The federal tables are supposed to represent how much a person with a certain income *should* spend on child care, regardless of custody arrangements:

"The child support amounts in the tables reflect what parents living in the same province, with the same incomes and the same number of children would spend on their children." (About Child Support in Canada)

So of my $1100 that I should have earmarked for my kids, I'm giving $700 to my ex, leaving me with $400 to spend on them when they're with me. On the other hand, my ex has her $400 from her own income, plus my $700, so she gets $1100 to spend on them when they're with her!!

In other words, we've swapped roles ... she gets my table amount to spend on the kids, and I get her table amount. If I earn more, it does *nothing* to help my budget, as the set-off calculation always gives her whatever the tables say *I* should pay, and I'm stuck with only whatever she earns.

Whenever trying to talk to lawyers or counsellors all I get back is: "That's what the guidelines say, if you think it's unfair, take it to a judge." And that's what I'll do, I guess, but I'm afraid no-one will look at the actual *logic* of this, and just say: "Everyone uses the set-off method. That's what the guidelines say."

Please help me understand how the set-off method is fair, and if there's any hope in doing something more reasonable like, say, *splitting* the set-off amount, so we'd both end up with equal amounts to spend on the kids when they're at our homes. (In my case I'm suggesting I pay her $350 instead of $700, so we both end up with $750 to spend on the kids.)

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