The law imposes a legal duty on parents to support their children financially. When partners who have children together separate, they must arrange to share financial responsibility. When a woman gives birth and the father does not acknowledge the child, the woman might have to initiate a paternity action to secure financial assistance in raising the child.
A Kawartha Lakes child support lawyer could provide guidance and assistance if you are grappling with these issues. Whether you need to work out the child support terms of your divorce or want to defend a paternity action, a dedicated family lawyer like Paul Riley could offer deep legal knowledge and practical experience.
According to the Family Law Act s. 31, the right to support belongs to the child. Each biological or adoptive parent must contribute financially to a child’s well-being. Even a parent with no biological or adoptive relationship to a child could be liable to support them if they lived with the child and demonstrated an intention to treat them as a family member.
The parent a child lives with most of the time is the custodial parent—also called the parent with primary parenting time—and they support the child by:
The parent with less parenting time typically contributes a portion of those expenses through child support payments.
If an unmarried woman gives birth and the child’s father does not sign the birth registration, the woman needs a court to issue a declaration of parentage to obtain child support. A mother could consult an experienced child support lawyer in Kawartha Lakes to discuss whether seeking a paternity test privately or a court order of parentage is the best strategy in a specific case.
Multiple factors go into calculating the minimum acceptable child support payment. As set forth in the Ontario Child Support Guidelines, relevant factors include the paying parent’s gross income, the number of children they support, and the province where the paying parent resides. This calculation provides a number called the table amount or base amount. A knowledgeable Kawartha Lakes lawyer like Paul Riley could help you calculate the table amount that would apply in your specific child support calculation.
The table amount constitutes the paying parent’s contribution to the child’s basic need for food, shelter, clothing, heat, and similar costs. The actual child support payment in a specific case also factors in the paying parent’s share of expenses like:
Courts usually order the parents to share these expenses proportionally to their respective incomes.
The courts could adjust child support payments when parents share roughly equal parenting time. However, courts generally want to ensure that the child’s lifestyle is substantially similar to the lifestyle they would enjoy if the parents lived together. If the paying parent earns significantly more than the other, they will likely owe child support even if they have equal or nearly equal parenting time.
When the paying parent earns more than $150,000 annually, the table amount can be substantial. A parent in that position could ask the court to decrease their child support payment. However, a judge could rule that as the child would benefit from the parent’s high income if they were living with them full-time, the child should not be penalized just because their parents choose to live separately.
A child receives support through age 18 or high school graduation. A parent might have a continuing child support obligation if the child goes on to higher education full-time or has a condition or disability that prevents them from being self-supporting. The Ontario Child Support Guidelines at s. 3(2)b allows a court to deviate from the table amount of child support when a child is above the age of majority.
Courts sometimes deviate from the table amount when a stepparent or other person without a biological or adoptive relationship to a child provides financial support. A well-practiced family law practitioner in Kawartha Lakes, like Paul Riley, could advise whether requesting a deviation from the table amount is viable in a specific case.
Every child is entitled to their parents’ financial support, but parents often find determining the appropriate amount is tricky. Get help from a seasoned legal professional like Paul Riley if you are negotiating support with your co-parent, trying to adjust an existing child support order, or seeking to establish or deny paternity.
Do not try to negotiate child support without legal help. Contact a Kawartha Lakes child support lawyer today.
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