Child Support and Changing Your Child Support Amount

Child Support and Changing Your Child Support




When parents divorce, children are not left to their own devices. Any parent that has dependent children are responsible for financially supporting them. Dependant means a child who is under the age of majority, which is 18 years old in Ontario. A dependant can also include a child over the age of 18 who is unable to become independent due to an illness, disability, or other cause.



What Is Child Support?

Child support is the amount of money one parent pays to another parent to help support the child financially after a separation or divorce. It is protected by the law and is a child’s right. The definition of “child” means a child that the spouses had during their marriage, which includes an adopted child.1 It may also a step-child if the step-parent acted in the place of a parent to the child during the marriage.



Who Pays it?

When parents no longer live together after a separation or divorce, the person paying the support is usually based on which parent spends the least amount of time caring for the child. However, if both parents spend an equal amount of time caring for the child, then it is usually the parent with the higher income who will have to pay child support. 



How Child Support Is Determined?

Generally, it is determined in a separation agreement or a court order. The Child Support Guidelines are rules used for calculating how much child support is owed. There are both federal and provincial guidelines. The Federal Child Support Guidelines apply when parents divorce. The provincial or territorial guidelines are applicable when there is no divorce i.e. a separation. 

The amount paid by the payor parent is based on their gross annual income, the number of children they have to support, and the province or territory they live in. The tables simply include the child’s basic monthly expenses. These include expenses like clothes, food, and school supplies.

On top of the table amount, a payor parent may also have to pay “special or extraordinary expenses.” These expenses must be necessary because they are in the child’s best interests. Furthermore, considering the family’s financial status, the additional expenses must be fair.

Examples of “special or extraordinary expenses” are: child-care expenses like a daycare; post-secondary education; the child’s extra-curricular activities.

If a child leaves home and becomes self-supporting, their parents can stop giving them financial support. As mentioned previously, there are instances where a child is over the age of 18 but are still dependant on their parents.

If your child is pursuing post-secondary school and lives away from home, child support may still be required.3 If the child’s primary residence is with the parent who has custody, child support may still be required. Child support will most likely be necessary until the child reaches the age of 22 or completes their post-secondary education.



How Do You Change Child Support?

It is possible to vary your child support payment. To do so, there must be a change in the circumstances that necessitates a different child support order. For example, there is now a change in the payor parent’s income. 

The original child support order may outline how to deal with changing child support. If a parent’s child support doesn’t fit within the guidelines, but they can’t agree on an agreement, you’ll have to go to court.

If you are looking for more information or have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact our top divorce lawyers in Mississauga. We will be happy to discuss your matter over with a free consultation. You can reach our office at 905-366-0202 or contact us through our website here.

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