Section 7 of the Child Support Guidelines outlines the manner in which certain expenses incurred on behalf of the children are to be shared between parents, including costs related to:
- Child care
- Medical/dental insurance
- Post-secondary education
- Extraordinary costs related to primary and secondary schooling
- Extra-curricular activities
The amount that is paid toward these expenses is in addition to the base amount of child support calculated under the child support tables.
Generally, expenses related to extracurricular activities will be shared only if the parents agree in advance. Where the parents cannot agree, a court will consider the necessity of the activity, the financial circumstances of the family, and the family’s spending patterns before separation to determine if the expense should be shared under the Guidelines. As a result, what is considered an extraordinary expense may vary from family to family.
Many parents assume that the costs associated with these expenses should be shared equally; however, the Guidelines provide that parents should share these costs in proportion to their income. For example, if Mom earns $60,000 and Dad earns $40,000, then Mom would be responsible for 60% and Dad would be responsible for 40% of these costs. In some situations, particularly for post-secondary education expenses, the child may also be expected to contribute to the expense through their own savings, employment income, or student loans, and bursaries.
Over the last few years, Canadian tax law has been amended to include tax credits for the cost of many children’s activities causing some parents to be concerned that after receiving the related tax benefit one parent may have paid less than their proportionate share of a particular expense. The Child Support Guidelines address this concern by requiring that these tax benefits be taken into consideration before determining each parent’s proportionate share. However, this consideration cannot include any amount received under the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB).
To better understand how extraordinary expenses may be shared in your family, it is recommended that you speak with a qualified family law lawyer.
For additional information, please feel free to contact Erin Lepine, firstname.lastname@example.org, 613-231-8323