1. Undue hardship – If paying the table amount of child support would cause you undue financial hardship, you may pay less. However, this is hard to show. You must show both that paying the table amount of child support would cause you undue hardship, plus that your standard of living is less than your spouse’s standard of living.
2. Your child is 18 or over – If your child is 18 or over, then the table amount of child support may not be correct. Instead, child support depends on how much money your child needs, how much your child earns, and how well you (and your child’s other parent) can afford to pay.
3. Your income is over $150,000 – If you have a large income, the table amount of child support can be extremely large – more than is needed to raise the children. In this case, you may be able to pay less than the amount of child support required by the Child Support Guidelines.
4. Shared custody – Shared custody is where both parents have joint legal custody and joint physical custody. If you spend 40% or more of the time with your children, then the court has the discretion to allow you to pay less than the table amount of child support.
5. Special provisions – If there are financial provisions in your divorce settlement that provide benefits for your children, then you may be able to pay less than the table amount of child support.
6. Stock options – Instead of earning a straight salary, rearrange your compensation so that you are paid less, but also receive stock options. Stock options are only considered income when exercised, which could be years away.
7. Tax shelters – Invest in tax shelters. The basic structure of a tax shelter is that the tax benefits from the losses outweigh your investment. The tax losses can also serve to reduce your income for child support purposes.
Please note that this page has resulted in a complaint to the Law Society of Upper Canada. For further information about this complaint, and the topic of paying less child support, including whether this is appropriate, see my blog entry about this as well as the discussion in the forums.
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