Vaughan Child Support Lawyers

Parents are obligated to support their children financially, even after they separate. When parents do not live together, one parent will usually owe the other parent child support. The right to child support belongs to the child – not the recipient parent. Parents are responsible for financially supporting their child until the child is no longer considered a “child” pursuant to the Family Law Act or Divorce Act. In some cases, parents will also be required to contribute to extraordinary expenses for their children, even after they reach the age of majority.

At GDH Family Law, our team of dedicated family law lawyers helps clients navigate the complicated issues that arise regarding child support calculations. We represent clients in child support issues at any stage of a family proceeding, whether during the drafting of a separation agreement or in litigation. Our experienced team creates bespoke legal solutions to address the unique needs of a client’s family and protect their children’s best interests.

Monthly Child Support vs. Special Expenses

Child support is the money paid by one parent to another to cover the costs of raising their children. There are two types of child support payments in Ontario: table child support and special or extraordinary expenses.

  1. Table child support is a sum of money paid monthly from one parent to the other and is intended to cover the child’s basic living expenses (including food, clothing, and housing). It is referred to as the “table amount” because it is calculated using the tables included in the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
  2. Special or extraordinary expenses are payments over and above the table amount of monthly child support. Special or extraordinary expenses differ in each situation, depending on the child’s particular needs and the family’s lifestyle and means. Special or extraordinary expenses are often called “section 7 expenses” as they are governed by section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

Section 7 expenses can include:

      • Childcare fees (daycare)
      • Medical and dental insurance premiums
      • Healthcare expenses not covered by the parents’ medical insurance (e.g. orthodontics, prescriptions, eyeglasses, therapy)
      • Reasonable and extraordinary school expenses to meet the child’s educational needs (e.g. tutors or private school)
      • Reasonable and extraordinary extracurricular expenses (e.g. sports, music, or art classes)
      • Post-secondary education costs, including tuition, books, and housing

Who Pays Child Support?

In most situations where the child resides primarily with one parent, the parent who pays child support (the “payor parent”) is the parent who spends less time with the child. Child support represents the payor parent’s portion of the daily cost of the child’s care. Where the parents spend close to the same amount of time with the children, the parent with the higher income will generally pay the difference between the parents’ table amounts.

Step-parents can also be responsible for child support if they are found to have stood in the place of a parent, even if they weren’t married to the child’s biological. However, this is not an automatic legal obligation. The spouse seeking support can apply to the court to prove that the nature of the former step-parent and child’s relationship justifies an order of child support.

Calculating Child Support in Ontario

The Child Support Guidelines set out the formula for determining which parent owes child support, how much child support must be paid, and the duration of support. By providing a standardized approach, the Child Support Guidelines aim to balance the parents’ support obligations fairly and eliminate uncertainty when calculating the amount of support.

Even with the Child Support Guidelines formula, calculating child support can be complicated by several factors, including special expenses, high net-worth parents, financial hardship, undisclosed income sources, and complex parenting arrangements.

Calculating Table Child Support

The amount of child support the payor parent must pay each month is set out in the Child Support Guidelines tables. It is based on the payor parent’s annual income and the number of children they are providing support.

The amount of child support may differ from the table amount if:

  • The parents have a shared parenting arrangement where the children spend a similar amount of time with each parent. In those circumstances, the parents pay a similar amount of the children’s basic living expenses;
  • The child is over the age of 18 and is attending post-secondary education away from home; or
  • The table amount would cause undue hardship to the payor parent.

Calculating Special or Extraordinary Expenses

Special/extraordinary or “section 7” expenses are amounts over and above the table amount of child support. These are based on each child’s particular needs and change as they grow. Parents may agree about which costs qualify as section 7 expenses or may require a court to decide. Once section 7 expenses are identified, parents are usually required to contribute an amount proportionate to their respective incomes.

Flexible and Accessible Child Support Guidance

At GDH Family Law, we understand the complexities of child support matters. Our dedicated family law lawyers get to know the needs and circumstances of each client’s family and provide focused, practical solutions to child support issues. We also help clients take action to enforce agreements and court orders when the other party fails to meet their support obligations.

Whether you need comprehensive, full-service support throughout your separation or à la carte child support advice at a specific point in the process, we can help. Our responsive team is ready to provide flexible and reliable representation at any stage of your family law matter.

Contact GDH Family Law in Vaughan for Representation in Child Support Issues

At GDH Family Law, we believe you deserve legal solutions that are as unique as your family. Our innovative team has decades of experience and provides compassionate and reliable guidance in child support disputes. Through our contemporary approach to family law, we provide as much or as little assistance as you require and are available at any part of the process.

GDH Family Law is based in Vaughan and represents clients throughout Maple, Concord, Woodbridge, Markham, Kleinburg, Richmond Hill, Nobleton, Toronto, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Caledon, Mississauga, Etobicoke, North York, Thornhill, and King City. For a free initial consultation on your family matter, contact us at 416-535-6944 or reach out online.