Child Support and Retroactive Child Support in a Nutshell

Child Support and Retroactive Child Support in a


Child Support

Child support is a term that signifies the financial assistance from one parent to another, in order to support a child following a separation or divorce. The Federal Support Guidelines are rules and regulations under the Divorce Act. They set out the guidelines of child support following a divorce. Their main objectives are:

  • Establish a fair standard of support for children so that they continue to benefit from both parents’ incomes after the separation or divorce;
  • Reduce conflict and tension between parents by making the calculation of child support more objective;
  • Ensure that parents and children in similar situations are treated the same; and
  • To make the legal process more efficient and encourage settlements by giving courts and parents guidance about child support.

During the time of a divorce or separation, it is highly important for parents to be cooperative while reaching an agreement for child support. Parents may seek assistance from an experienced family law lawyer in order to understand:

  • Their legal rights and responsibilities, and the rights of your children;
  • The options for resolving differences between you and the other parent; and
  • How the court system works.

In this way, both parents may save time and financial resources by resolving issues without going to court.

Federal Support Guidelines

The Federal Support Guidelines provide rules and regulations in order to help an individual successfully calculate child support. Various steps may be necessary depending on the person and time. In summary, the steps are:

  1. If a parent lives in Manitoba, New Brunswick or Quebec, the provincial guidelines will apply to that particular case.
  2. The number of children you must support is affected by the situation and age.
  3. The Federal Guideline uses the term “sole custody”, to describe the parenting arrangement of one parent with an evening, or when a child spends time with each.
  4. There are different tax rules for each province or territory so find the table that matches your circumstances.
  5. One way to calculate one’s income for child support is by consulting a family law lawyer.
  6. This step explains how to find the table amount that is applicable to the parent’s circumstance by matching their income and number of children being supported.
  7. Special or extraordinary expenses should be counted in the table amount if they exist.
Extraordinary expenses may be:
  • Child care expenses due to an illness, disability or educational requirements
  • The portion of a parent’s medical and dental insurance premiums that provides coverage for the child
  • The child’s health-care needs that exceed $100 per year if the cost is not covered by insurance
  • Expenses for post-secondary education; expenses for the child’s extracurricular activities.

8. Determine if there is undue hardship: This step will assist a parent in assessing whether there is undue hardship in their situation. The amount of child support determined through the previous steps may be difficult for a parent to provide, in this case, the parent may claim undue hardship.

In order to prove undue hardship, the parent must prove two things:

1. That your circumstances would make it hard to: – pay the required amount; or – support the child on the amount of support you receive.

2. That your household’s standard of

Retroactive Child Support

Retroactive child support refers to child support that may be owed to a parent due to a few reasons:

  • Had an increase in their income and the Table amount (as discussed above) was not adjusted accordingly
  • Failed to pay child support when they were required to
  • The payor was paying less child support than required

When assessing whether retroactive child support is appropriate, the court considers the situation from all angles, such as the financial need of the supporting parent and the paying parent’s ability to provide. This requires the supporting parent to approach the problem as soon as they discover the need for retroactive child support, either by filing an application or having a written request for the increase of support. Failure to take action in a timely manner may be of the supporting parent’s detriment in receiving an increase of support.

At Tailor Law, we understand that following a separation or divorce, your child and their upbringing may be your foremost concern. Our lawyers can provide you with guidance on child support and the next steps to take in your case. If you require assistance, do not hesitate to call us at 905-366-0202, or visit our website here.

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