Child Support

Child Support in Ontario

The purpose of the legislation that pertains to child support establishes that the guidelines are intended to set a fair standard of support so that children benefit from their parent's financial means after separation. They also intend to reduce conflict between parents by making the calculation more objective and ensure the consistency in treatment of the children in terms of financial support.

The calculation of child support depends upon a number of factors including the parent’s annual income, the number of children of the relationship, and whether the children are primarily resident with one parent for the majority of the time. However, it is important to note that the court may award an amount that is different from the guideline amount given the discretion that the court has in relation to this subject matter provided that there are reasons to justify an alternate amount such as undue hardship on the recipient or that the payor earns a substantially high income and the guidelines do not reflect his ability to pay. Both parents are also obligated to pay for their children’s special and extraordinary expenses of which include child care costs, extracurricular activities, expenses related to the children’s education, as well as any medical, health, or dental expenses. The guiding principal as to how these expenses are apportioned between the parents is that it is often divided on a pro rata basis as per their annual income after taking into account any tax deductions and contributions from the children.

Did you know that it is possible to change or vary an award of child support if it can be shown that there has been a material change in circumstances. A material change in circumstances may include an increase in income, loss of employment, or the child attaining the age of the majority. It is also possible to seek retroactive support for a period preceding the commencement of the application. In order to determine whether a retroactive award is appropriate the court will consider any delay in serving and filing the application, the conduct of the payor if relevant, the child’s past and present circumstances, and whether a retroactive award will cause hardship to the payor. If the court decides that a retroactive award is appropriate the court will generally make the award retroactive to the date that it was requested by the recipient. There is however a three year limit unless the conduct of the payor was blameworthy.