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Top 10 Questions About Child Support

Top 10 Questions About Child Support

One of the most talked-about issues in separation is the issue of child support.

Many people don’t understand that it is a child’s right to receive child support, not the recipient spouse’s right.

Both parents have a legal obligation to financially support their children to the best of their ability.

Here are our top 10 questions that are frequently asked about child support.

  1. How is Child Support Calculated?

The amount of Child Support is calculated in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines. The amount you owe depends on three factors:

  • Your gross income (this is your income before taxes);
  • Where your children live (how much time they spend living at each parent’s house); and
  • How many dependent children you have.

You can view the amount of child support you may owe here

It is worth noting that calculating child support may not be as straightforward as you think in certain circumstances. Many variables may come into play, such as self-employment income.

Further, there may be extraordinary expenses (or Section 7 expenses) that may need to be shared by the parents.

Your mediator or lawyer can help you with calculations.

  1. When Does Child Support End?

Child support must be paid if a child is a dependent and under 18 years of age.

However, there are circumstances where even if the child has turned 18 years of age, they are still considered a dependant.

Any situation where the child is unable to support themselves due to any of the following:

  • the child has a disability or illness; or
  • the child is attending school full time.

If the child is 18 years old or older and lives away from home while attending school, child support may still have to be paid if the child’s primary residence is with a parent, parenting time.

In this situation, child support must be paid until the child is 22 years of age or until the child graduates from post-secondary education.

These circumstances can terminate the obligation of child support:

  • the child has married; or
  • they are 16 or older and have voluntarily left parental control;
  1. Can I Negotiate the Amount of Child Support I Have to Pay?

The short answer is no.

As mentioned above, it is the right of the child to receive child support, not the right of the recipient parent.

The parents cannot contract out of paying child support.

The amount of child support owed is regulated by federal and provincial guidelines. This means you cannot negotiate the amount, which includes declining to pay child support, paying less than the table guidelines suggest, or amending the support payment altogether.

  1. What Does Child Support Cover?

Under Ontario law, child support is intended to cover a child’s basic needs, which refer to items such items as:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Medical care
  • Regular school costs, including school supplies
  • Transportation
  • Other basic necessities
  1. Does the Amount Received for Child Support Need to be Used Directly on the Children?

There is no specific requirement for child support to be directly spent on a child. Child support encompasses expenses of the recipient parent raising a child, including mortgage/rent, household bills, groceries, vehicle/transportation expenses, basic needs, etc.

  1. What Happens if the Payor Parent Does Not Pay Child Support?

In Ontario, child support payments are enforced through the Family Responsibility Office (FRO).

FRO enforces court orders and domestic contracts (such as a separation agreement) filed with the Court.

If a parent is not making their child support payments, FRO can take the following actions:

  • Garnishing government money owed to the payor, which includes income tax refunds, employment insurance, Canada Pensions Plan benefits or worker’s compensation;
  • Garnishing bank accounts;
  • Suspending the payor’s driver’s license;
  • Suspending the payor’s passport and other federal licenses, such as a pilot’s license ;
  • Reporting to Payor the credit bureau;
  • Placing a lien on personal property;
  • Issue a writ of seizure and sale for property owned; and
  • Seizing lottery winnings.
  1. Is Child Support Tax Deductible?

No, it is not tax-deductible to the parent paying child support or receiving child support.

  1. Is Child Support Applicable to Stepchildren?

Suppose you stood in the place of a parent (loco parentis) for a child before separating from your spouse (the child’s biological parent) or demonstrated a settled intention to treat the child as your own. In that case, you may be required to pay child support.

  1. Do You Have to Pay Child Support if You Have 50/50 Parenting Time?

This is a common misconception when it comes to child support.

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, according to the Federal Child Support Guidelines, the higher income earner should be paying the net difference (called a set-off) in the parties’ respective Guidelines Table amounts, even if custody is split equally.

It is important to note that custody isn’t the only factor determining child support payments. The income of each parent must be considered as part of the calculation.

  1. Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support If My Ex Moves Away with the Kids?

The legal obligation to pay child support continues regardless of where the child lives.


Marian Grande

Marian Grande is a Mediator and Founder of Absolute Dispute Resolution. By combining positive communication techniques with her knowledge of family law, civil litigation and legal processes, Marian helps parties solve their own problems and reach lasting agreements that are conducive to all parties involved in a dispute. Marian has over… MORE

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