Child Support In Ontario

Child Support
Child Support

In Ontario, the Family Law Act, Divorce Act and Child Support Guidelines under both pieces of legislation are very clear when it comes to child support.  Upon the breakdown of a relationship, child support is the amount of money that one parent receives from the other parent. Child support is usually set out in a Separation Agreement where the parties come to an agreement or in a court order where they cannot agree on the settlement of this issue.

What Is Child Support in Ontario?

It is intended to assist in covering the costs of caring for a child. Usually, the parent who is obligated to pay child support either earns more money (where the child is in the equal care of both parents at least 40% of the time) or where the child is in primary care (more than 60%) of the other parent.  All children have a right to be financially supported by their parents, irrespective of the role the parent plays in their lives. 

Calculating Child Support In OntariO

The amount of child support in Ontario is calculated based on a specific set of guidelines and tables, often referred to as table child support.  It is based on payor parents’ income and the number of children entitled to support or where the children are in a shared parenting arrangement (ie in the care of both parents at least 40% of the time) both parents’ incomes, among other factors, are considered in determining the appropriate level of table child support.

Hummingbird Lawyers LLP has developed a free child support calculator to help give you an idea of what you may be either entitled to or obligated to pay. 

What Are Special or Extraordinary Expenses?

Table child support payments are intended to assist in covering a  child’s basic needs in terms of food, clothing and housing. According to the Child Support Guidelines, there are additional special or extraordinary expenses that are shareable between parents in addition to the table amount of child support payable. These are referred to as special or extraordinary expenses, or collectively as Section 7 expenses. Some of these expenses include childcare costs, post-secondary education expenses, uninsured healthcare expenses, and extraordinary extracurricular activities like sports and can also include other expenses that are agreed upon and included in a Separation Agreement. 

When Does Child Support End?

Child Support Guidelines

The general rule in Ontario is that child support payments must be made so long as the child is dependent as defined in the Family Law Act or Divorce Act. .  While many people mistakenly believe that 18 years of age is the “cutoff ” age for child support, this is often not the case. If for example, a child has special needs and is still a “dependent”, then the paying parent’s child support obligations will continue past age 18. Similarly, if a child is pursuing a post-secondary education on a full-time basis, they are still considered to be a dependent child and the obligation to pay child support continues. The determination of child support for children over the age of 18 is not always a strict application of the guidelines. For children over the age of 18, the court has the power to determine child support taking into account other factors, including the child’s ability to contribute to their s.7 expenses such as post-secondary education.  It’s always best to speak to a lawyer and seek advice when it comes to child support obligations and entitlements.

How Do I Collect Child Support

Child support payments are often agreed to or ordered by the court to be made on a pre-set schedule. For example, payments may be made on a monthly or semi-monthly basis. If you are having difficulty collecting child support payments, there is also the option to have the child support obligation (provided it is contained in a written separation agreement or a court order)  enforced by the Family Responsibility Office (referred to as FRO). 

The Family Responsibility Office is a government agency whose purpose is to enforce the payment of child support and/or spousal support and section 7 expenses. When administered through FRO the agreed to or ordered support is collected directly from the paying parent (or their employer) and the funds are then disbursed to the recipient parent by the FRO. 

The Hummingbird Family Lawyers Can Help

Child Support in Ontario

If you are going through a divorce or separation, our family lawyers at Hummingbird Lawyers LLP are here to assist you with every step of the process. If you have any questions regarding child support or any other family law matter, contact us and set up an appointment with one of our professionals. 

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