Hello, my name is Shilpa Mehta and I am a lawyer with Feldstein Family Law Group. Today I will be discussing annual income disclosure for support purposes.
When children are involved in a family law matter, one of the major issues to resolve is the amount of child support payable for them. To finalize child support, we rely on the Child Support Guidelines and the steps to determining the appropriate amount of support payable as are explained in the Guidelines. I won’t be explaining the process for determining support in this video blog, except to say that the first place that we start is with the payor parent’s line 150 income as outlined in their Income Tax Return. When the payor is self-employed, has other sources of income, or other examples outlined in the Guidelines, additional disclosure is looked at to determine the amount of support payable.
Many clients I meet with ask me what would happen if their or their spouse’s income goes up or down after they come to an agreement on the amount for child support. The answer is that the child support obligations will have to be reviewed and adjusted if necessary to make sure that the amount being paid is appropriate. Of course, this would mean that in order to determine the appropriate amount, the disclosure would have to be exchanged again for the appropriate period. There are many examples in case law where a payor parent began earning more or less money each year, but did not inform the other parent, so child support payments remained the same. I’m sure you can understand that this can be a problem when the recipient parent learns of this change and then attempts to change support and seek recalculations on a retroactive basis as well.
It’s for this reason that the guidelines state that where a Court Order is in place with respect to child support, when income or financial information is used to determine the amount of support payable, every year within 30 days of the anniversary of the date of the Order, the relevant income information must be provided to the other party so that child support can be determined. While this is a good provision to have, two problems can arise. The first being that the parties still don’t exchange their income information on a yearly basis, and the second is that, the language of the guidelines doesn’t seem to extend to child support arrangements in place as part of a written separation agreement. In order to attempt to rectify this problem, it is now mandatory that Court orders dealing with child support specifically state that income information will be exchanged within 30 days of the anniversary of the Order. If the obligation is specifically stated in the order, the idea is that it will remind the payor that this will have to be done.
Because many couples resolve their family law matters outside of the Court system, I always recommend to my clients to include terms in the Agreement that state that the income information will be exchanged on a yearly basis. Again, this will draw attention to the importance of this exchange of information and hopefully, remind the couple that this will need to be done for as long as there are children who require support.
For more information on the calculation of child support, the Child Support Guidelines, or financial disclosure, please look to our website. If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers about your family law matter, please call us at (905) 581-7222 to book an initial consultation. Thanks for watching!