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Hello again, my name is Anna Troitschanski and I am an associate with Feldstein Family Law Group. Today, I would like to speak to you about child support in the context of a shared residency arrangement. A shared residency arrangement is when a child spends more or less equal time living with each parent.

Monthly Child Support payments are based on:

  1. the amount of time each parent spends with the children;
  2. the income of the payor(s) and;
  3. the number of children.

Generally, child support payments are calculated pursuant to the Federal Child Support Guidelines (also known as the “Table” amount, based on the support table that specifies the amount of support to be paid in light of the parent’s income and the number of children). In this case, the parent with whom the child primarily resides is entitled to receive child support from the other parent pursuant to the Table amount.

In the event of a shared residency arrangement, where the child spends more than 40% of the time with one parent and less than 60% of the time with the other, support payments based on the standard Federal Child Support Guidelines may not be applicable. In these circumstances, child support would still be required, but may be based on a “set-off” approach pursuant to Section 9 of the Child Support Guidelines.

The set-off is still subject to the Court’s approval and it is outlined in the Supreme Court of Canada decision of Contino and Leonelli-Contino where the Court set out the test for determining child support in cases when the child or children reside equally with both parents. The factors considered by the Court are outlined in Section 9 of the Child Support Guidelines and include the following:

  1. the amounts set out in the applicable Tables for each of the spouses;
  2. the increased costs of shared custody arrangements; and
  3. the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse and of any child for whom support is sought.

Essentially, Section 9 and the Contino case tell us that it is not enough to simply determine each party’s child support obligations and set one off against the other. We must take into consideration all factors, including: the increased cost of shared custody and, the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse and the children. Accordingly, in cases where there is a significant disparity in income between the spouses, the Court may look at Section 9(c) and determine that the set-off approach would not be appropriate when considering the means of one spouse to pay more than the set-off amount of child support, the needs of the recipient spouse and the children to ensure that the children’s expenses are met, and other circumstances.

If the set-off approach is applicable, the parent with the higher income would pay the difference in the Table amounts to the parent with the lower income. For example, if parent “A” is obliged to pay $1200.00 per month in child support pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines and parent “B” is obliged to pay $800.00 per month in child support pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines, then parent “A” would pay parent “B” $400.00 as a set-off in child support per month rather than the full $1200.00 as set out by the applicable Table.

If you would like more information about parentage and your obligations or entitlements to child support, please contact us in order to book a consultation with one of our lawyers at 905-581-7222.