Child support is determined according to the Child Support Guidelines, which provide for a ‘table amount’ to be payable based on the number of children, the parenting schedule and the children’s primary residence, as well as the paying parent’s income. If your children live with your spouse the majority of the time, you will likely be required to pay child support. If however, the children live with both parents on a fairly equal basis, then the child support obligation of each parent is determined based on their respective incomes. Whoever has to pay the higher amount pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines will typically pay the difference between the two amounts to the other parent, unless the court is satisfied that the amount should be adjusted in some way to meet the particular needs of the children.

Child support is technically the right of the child and not the right of a parent, and courts will always be guided by the needs of the child in determining child support issues. Child support is not considered ‘income’ in the hands of the recipient parent and is not tax deductible by the paying parent. There are circumstances when child support can become a complicated issue, and it is always best to speak with a family law lawyer before finalizing any child support arrangements.

Special and Extraordinary Expenses for Children

The Child Support Guidelines outline the way certain expenses incurred on behalf of children are to be shared between parents over and above regular monthly ‘table support’, including costs related to child care; medical and dental insurance; non-covered healthcare costs; post-secondary education; extraordinary costs related to primary and secondary schooling; and extraordinary extra-curricular activity costs (usually for competitive sports). Such expenses, if they qualify, are typically shared by the parents in proportion to their incomes. For example, if you earn 65% of your and the other parent’s total combined incomes, then you would pay 65% of such costs and the other parent would pay 35% of such costs.