Changing Child Support in Ontario
Varying Support Based on a Change in Circumstances
Once a final support order has been made by the courts, it is possible to vary that order if there has been a change in circumstances.
Section 14 of the Child Support Guidelines indicates that a variation order can be made if there has been any change in circumstances that would result in a different child support order. The most common change is to the payor parent’s income, which will result in the amount of support being adjusted to the Table amount applicable for that new income.
Other changes in circumstances include a move by the custodial parent that has increased the cost of the other parent’s parenting time with the child, or if the child has withdrawn from parental control, finished a post-secondary degree, or begun spending 40% or more time with the support-paying parent.
Remarriage, New Employment & Child Support Variations
Generally, changes in the recipient spouse’s living conditions, such as remarriage or new employment, will not result in a change in the Table amount of child support. This is because the payor’s obligation is to the child directly: children have a right to benefit from their parents’ financial means. The circumstances of another parent do not affect that right. However, if the recipient spouse’s income increases, this may affect the apportioning of the section 7 expenses, which are divided in proportion with the parents’ incomes.
Even if the spouse receiving the child support moves in with a new partner who is willing and able to support the children, courts in Ontario have held that the support payor remains obligated to pay support for the children.
If the spouses have an agreement in place that specifies an amount of support, and that amount is not in accordance with the Guidelines, either spouse can apply to vary the amount. The court may then make an order for support that mirrors the Guidelines, regardless of what the parties previously agreed to.