February 22, 2023

HOW IS CHILD SUPPORT DETERMINED?

How to Calculate Child Support in Ontario

child support

Parents have a duty to support their dependent children, based on their income. That is, usually until a child turns 18 years of age, but may be longer if the child suffers from a disability or is in post-secondary education This responsibility is separate from whether they are spending time with the children.

There are Federal Child Support Guidelines and tables in every province, including Ontario, that determine the amount to be paid based on a parent’s income from all sources, and the number of children. There are also free online Calculators for determining child support obligations. You can find one at our Family Law Portal.

  • The basic principle is that the parent who cares for the children most of the time receives the child support payment.
  • If parents are sharing time equally, the parent with the higher income will usually be the payor to ensure that children have a reasonable standard of living in both homes. If parents have similar incomes and are sharing the caretaking time equally, they may create a “set off” where one pays the other the difference between what would be each parent’s financial obligation as set out in the Child Support Guidelines. Parents can reach an agreement on child support without going to court if the agreement meets the minimum standard set by the Child Support Guidelines.
  • Many payors believe that if the children spend at least 40% of their time with them, that they can avoid paying some or all child support. This is rarely the case unless the parents have approximately the same income. (See set off) The focus is on ensuring that children have approximately the same standard of living in each home.
  • The law requires that the parent who is paying support, disclose their income annually as the support payments will vary with significant changes in income.
  • There is a list of “Special or Extraordinary Expenses” that are treated differently. These are costs that are relevant to some families or children and not others; for example, private school tuition, special health care or dental expenses, daycare needed because a parent is working, university expenses, and special extra-curricular activities. These items are usually agreed upon, reasonable, expenses, and the cost is shared in proportion to their income by the parents.
  • Payment of support is required even if the parent is not spending time with the child(ren) and the failure to pay support cannot be used to deny a parent ongoing contact.

Separation Pathways offers a Child-Focused Mediation Package. Parents of school-age and younger children should purchase this package. A parenting plan that details roles, decision-making, and time spent with each of you is created with the help of the mediator. A child support agreement is also facilitated by the mediator, who considers the age(s), activities, educational needs, and special circumstances of each kid. A Memorandum of Understanding is created by the Mediator once an agreement has been reached. Your Memorandum of Understanding will be reviewed by attorneys, who will then turn it into a final Separation Agreement if you purchase the Plus Legal Review Package.

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