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It's that season again, and back to school shopping and tuition are on lots of people’s mind. You may remember, Jane Thomson's article from this time last year about how these expenses often constitute special and extraordinary expenses under section 7 of the child support guidelines. These are special expenses that are paid in addition to monthly table child support and are shared in proportion to the parties' incomes.

A simple reminder for those of you who are about to incur "section 7" expenses – your agreement or court order may state that you need to receive the other party's consent before incurring an expense – so try and get that consent in writing before incurring any large expenses (an email is enough). Also, don’t forget to keep your receipts. In Katz v. Katz, a recent Ontario Court of Appeal case, some section 7 expenses were denied because receipts were not provided, and only estimates were given to the payor.

If a section 7 expense is truly necessary, and the other side is unreasonably refusing to consent to incurring the expense, make sure you let them know why the expense is reasonable you may be able to bring the matter to Court for enforcement. But beware, if the dispute is just an ongoing conflict between you and the other party, and there is no evidence about the propriety of the particular section 7 expenses, you may not get an order enforcing the payment of these expenses, and you may not get reimbursed for your legal costs. Even worse, you could have to pay costs to the other side. A disagreement about section 7 expenses alone will not justify enforcement from the Family Responsibility Office, who generally will only enforce expenses that are set out in an order or agreement.

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This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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