If you and a co-parent are ending a relationship, one of the issues you must resolve is child support. Every child has a right to financial support and a parent cannot decline to provide or accept it.
The law requires parents to provide children with the necessities of life and ensure that a parental separation will not severely impact a child’s standard of living. However, even when parents have the best intentions, child support negotiations can get heated.
A Toronto child support lawyer could help you negotiate a fair arrangement with your co-parent. If you cannot agree, or if you need to modify an existing child support order, a local family lawyer like Paul Riley could represent you in court.
When calculating child support in Toronto, couples should use the government’s Child Support Guidelines, which provide a minimum payment amount based on the paying parent’s income, the number of children, and the province of residence. As an Ontario resident, you would use the federal guidelines. The guidelines presume one parent cares for the child at least 60 percent of the time.
You must consider all dependent children when calculating child support. Children under age 18 are entitled to support, but if a child over 18 is pursuing higher education or is disabled and unable to support themselves, they will count as dependents for the purposes of calculating child support.
Once you have calculated the base amount of child support owed to the parent who has most of the parenting time, you must consider extra expenses. Often called Section 7 expenses, these relate to additional items like childcare, a child’s healthcare needs, extracurricular activities, and educational expenses.
The Guidelines have the force of law, and parents who do not provide the child’s primary home are expected to pay the guideline amount. When parenting time is closer to equal, courts typically handle child support by calculating how much each parent would pay if they had the child less than 40 percent of the time. Then the court subtracts the lower amount from the higher amount, and the parent with the higher income pays that balance to the other spouse as a base amount. Section 7 expenses are handled in a similar manner.
Difficulties can arise when a parent’s income is not wholly derived from a salary. Business owners, freelancers, people with significant investments, and executives with complex compensation packages could hide or fail to report income to reduce their child support obligations.
A Toronto lawyer with experience in child support matters could engage professionals like business valuators to assess a parent’s likely income. Although working with third-party professionals could add to the cost of a case, Canada allows you to deduct professional fees related to child support from your income taxes.
A child support payment amount is based on a parent’s income, the time the parent spends with the child, and the child’s particular needs. Significant changes to any of these factors could merit a change in child support.
If a parent’s income rises significantly, they are obliged to share that increase with their child. If the parent’s income diminishes through no fault of their own, they may be able to get a reduction in their child support obligation if they can show paying it is a hardship. If a child needs braces, wants to attend university, or becomes disabled, an adjustment to child support might be appropriate as well.
Parents must recognize that the receiving parent’s remarriage or new relationship is not a factor that affects their obligation to pay child support. A parent cannot refuse to pay child support because, for example, the ex-spouse and the child now live with the ex-spouse’s new romantic partner, who has a high income. A Toronto child support lawyer with expertise in these issues could advise you whether a situation warrants modifying a child support order.
When you split with your spouse or co-parent, ensuring that your children do not suffer a diminished standard of living is important. The law gives your children the right to financial contributions from both parents to ensure their basic needs are met.
If you need help developing a child support agreement, or if you want to modify an existing agreement, contact a Toronto child support lawyer immediately. A committed legal professional at our firm is available 24/7 to answer questions and provide you the support you need.
Now you can have your FREE 30-Minute Consultation with Paul Riley any time from the comfort of your own home. With free video calls from Zoom, your Team at The Riley Divorce & Family Law Firm can meet with you virtually, and learn about your case. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop with a built-in camera and microphone.
Paul Riley Law Office