Family Law

Child Support

Every parent has a legal obligation to assist financially in the raising of the child(ren). Child support in Canada is governed by the federal Child Support Guidelines (CSG), The CSG provide a standardized framework for child support, and reduce uncertainty in child support calculations.

Calculating child support

Child support determinations can be complicated by several factors, including “extraordinary expenses” that are not included in the formula (also known as “Section 7” expenses), high net worth spouses, self-employment, as well as other potential issues such as claims of financial hardship, undisclosed income, and complex custody arrangements.

There are several misconceptions when it comes to child support in Canada. These include:

  • The amount of child support is based on how much money is required to care for my specific child.
  • If two spouses separate and neither needs any financial support from the other, they can agree that no child support will be owed to the other.
  • When the income of a recipient parent increases (or decreases), child support needs to change.
  • Once a child is over 18, they are no longer entitled to child support

In Canada, there are guidelines that govern child support. They attempt to set fair standards, reduce conflict, improve efficiency, and treat parents in similar circumstances consistently. Under these guidelines, child support can be based on a support payor’s yearly income and the number of children involved.

There are two kinds of child support: table amount and section 7 expenses.

What is the ‘Table Amount’ as related to Child Support?

Table amount of support is based strictly on a person’s income, the number of children, and the province in which the children live. Table amount is paid primarily for the child’s food, shelter, and clothing. Section 7 expenses are different than table amount in that they are “add on” expenses and are paid for child care; medical and dental expenses not covered by insurance; other health-related expenses; extraordinary school expenses for programs that meet a child’s needs; post-secondary education expenses; and extraordinary extra-curricular activities.

What are Section 7 Expenses?

Section 7 expenses are ‘special expenses’ that must be necessary for the child’s best interests and reasonable considering the income of the parents and past spending patterns prior to separation.

Expenses can be extraordinary if they are expenses beyond what similarly situated families can be expected to cover, or if a child has a special talent for the activity.

Child support can become complicated for adult children, or children attending university. Routinely, conflicts emerge over when child support should end.

Common areas of contention

The one major area where parties almost always have a dispute is over the income of the payor, particularly if the payor is self-employed. This can involve investigations into the self-employed person’s income sources, business accounts, and various other examinations to determine an accurate income amount. Financial disclosure becomes central in such conflicts. 

Contact one of our lawyers at NuriLaw Professional Corporation to help understand your child support and disclosure obligations.