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What is child support?

 in Family Law 

The law says that parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer. A parent can be a birth parent, a non-birth parent, an adoptive parent, and sometimes a step-parent.

Generally, child support is money paid by the parent that spends the least amount of time with the child to the parent who takes care of the child most of the time. It is used to help cover the costs of caring for the child. Even if your child spends an equal amount of time with each parent, the parent with the higher income may still have to pay some child support. The parent who pays support is called the payor parent.

You and your partner can try to reach an agreement about child support before going to court. You can use the Child Support Guidelines and the Government of Canada's child support tables to see how much child support a judge might order.

The tables show the basic monthly amounts of child support to cover expenses like clothes, groceries, and school supplies. It is based on the gross annual income of the payor parent and the number of children they have to support.

There are other factors that may affect the amount of child support a judge might order. For example:

  • special or extraordinary expenses, like daycare that are not covered in the table amount

  • the type of parenting arrangement

  • undue hardship or financial difficulties that make it very hard for the payor parent to pay child support

  • retroactive support with a start date before the date of the court order

  • children over the age of majority, which means 18 years old or older

Who pays child support?

The law says that parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. A parent can be a birth parent, a non-birth parent, an adoptive parent, and sometimes a step-parent.

The parent who pays child support is called the payor parent.

Parents must support their children even if they:

  • do not live with the children

  • do not see the children

  • are not married to the other parent

  • did not live with the other parent

  • did not have an ongoing relationship with the other parent

  • have other children from a new relationship

Child support and parenting time

The right to child support and the right to parenting time are 2 different things. They are both rights of the child. A parent cannot be denied parenting time with their child because they do not pay child support. And a parent who does not have parenting time may still have to pay child support. Parenting time used to be called access.

You can refuse to allow parenting time in specific situations, such as if you're afraid for your child's safety. You may have to call child protection services if you believe your child is being abused by your partner or someone in their home. If you're in this situation, get help right away.

If you need assistance, contact us for advice on what to do to keep your children safe.