Child Support 101: The Basics
Hello, I am Deleta Grandy and I am an associate with Feldstein Family Law Group. Today I will be talking about some basic information regarding child support which many individuals have when they are separating from their spouse.
The first question I would like to address is “Who is eligible for child support?”
Children of your marriage or of your common law relationship are considered eligible for support. Child support is the right of the child and cannot be bargained away between parties. In fact, the Court has the authority to deny a claim for divorce if the judge does not believe that proper arrangements have been made for the support of the children in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
The next questions you might have is “Who pays child support to who?”
The children’s primary residence, meaning where they live most of the time, will impact who pays child support. If your children are living primarily with your former spouse, then you will be paying child support. If your children are living primarily with you, then your former spouse will be paying child support to you.
If the children reside with both you and your former spouse an equal or near equal amount of time, you each have a child support obligation in respect of the children, and you pay the other spouse in accordance with your obligation. In such cases, the higher income spouse pays the lower income spouse the difference between their respective child support obligations. However, it is important to note that even if there is shared parenting, this does not necessarily mean that the Table amount will be payable, and the Court does have discretion to order that full Table amount should be paid.
The next question you might have is “How is the amount of child support determined?”
The amount of child support payable is determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which represents a payor’s contribution to the cost of food, clothing and shelter for a child when the child is in the care of the other parent. The Guidelines provide an easy-to-use Table that establishes the monthly amount the payor shall pay based on:
- the number of children eligible for support, and
- the payor’s income.
With respect to income, child support is based on current income which is usually the payor’s line 150 (total income) for the last taxation year. However, if the payor’s income has changed from the previous taxation year, the payor must provide the most up-to-date income information available (such as letters of employment, recent paystubs and employment contracts).
What about expenses for children that go above and beyond their basic needs?
The cost of raising a child exceeds expenses for just food, clothing or shelter, and the Guidelines cover these additional expenses too. In addition to the Table amount, both parents are obligated to contribute to the child’s reasonable and necessary special or extraordinary expenses (sometimes called section 7 expenses) in proportion to their respective incomes.
Those expenses can include:
- child care expenses (such as daycare, nanny, before and after school care),
- summer camps,
- post-secondary education expenses,
- medical / dental / orthodontic expenses not covered by a parent’s extended health and dental plan, and
- extracurricular activity expenses.
Calculating your full child support obligation requires calculating the Table amount payable.
I’m Deleta Grandy with Feldstein Family Law Group. Thank you for watching today.
If you need more information and wish to schedule a consultation, please visit our website or contact our office at 905-581-7222.