As time passes, parents encounter more and more concerns for their children. They want the best for their child, specifically financially. It is a parent’s responsibility to provide their child with the best at the best time and secure the future. Therefore, comes the Child Support.
Child Support is where parents pay a certain amount periodically to gather it when the child needs it. However, child support maintenance is sometimes hard to pay when the overall income is less and the present time in the family needs more money.
The parent needs to stabilize their budget overall and also get support for their child.
Therefore, the payment needs to be changed at times. Here, we will discuss the amount of payment you may be required to make, ways to change it, and legal processes to help you know your next step.
You will also get a general idea of the Canadian court system‘s views on child guidelines and how those are carried out.
1. About Child Support and How It Works in Canada
We should get a brief overview of how paying child support works in Canada. Don’t worry; we will keep the discussion simple and easy to understand without the vast knowledge of the law.
1.1. Amount of Child Support Based on Child Support Guidelines
We will review the child support guidelines how they calculate the child support, and how it can provide the payor’s parent’s income( the parent who makes the support amount).
Please keep in mind that there can always be some unique circumstances that may affect the amount you have to support, so please consider the consultations of a professional if that is the case. We are giving a general outline here.
1.1.1. The Table Amount of Child Support Payments:
This Table determines the amount of child support needed to be paid depending on the annual income and the number of children getting the support. Your child support amount increases with your income up until a certain point.
1.1.2. Annual Income:
The total income of salaried parents will determine the child support needed. Both parents must submit their tax returns for the last three years and notices of assessment from the CRA with supporting documentation before the court decides on the tax claim.
Suppose the supporting parent is self-employed, and their annual income is unstable. In that case, the court averages the last three years of income information to decide on the amount of child support.
Here, I would like to point out that the status of the spouse on the receiving end of the support order does not affect the table amount of child support, meaning a new job or marriage will not affect the amount of money to be paid for.
1.1.3. Special or Extraordinary Expenses :
The custodial parent can be entitled to more support provisions depending on their illness, employment training, or disabilities. Extraordinary expenses can also include co-curricular activities and expensive programs and courses.
These points mentioned above can be considered essential expenses regarding child support and a basic layout of how these are approached. You can contact a legal consultant for a more in-depth guide.
2. 6 Possible Ways to Lower Child Support Payments in Ontario?
Now, we can look at some factors concerning the support orders and how to change and possibly reduce them.
It depends on your circumstances and the new positive and negative developments regarding financial status, total income, child’s maturity, and much more. Common reasons for such changes include:
2.1. Child Reaching 18
The custodian and the other spouse are responsible for their child’s financial well-being until they turn 18. If they are already 18, the table amount of child support may be revised.
Further down the road, the pay depends on the child’s needs, the amount of child support possibly provided by you, and your child’s income.
Matters like the disability of the child, certain illnesses, and still ongoing school education also come into less child support payments.
2.2. Shared Custody/Shared Parenting Time
Shared custody is when both spouses share joint legal and physical custody of the child in question, meaning that the child spends the same amount of time in contact with both parents throughout the year.
This scenario applies when the child spends at least 40% of the time with both parents. This time is typically calculated as when the person is directly responsible for the child rather than living with them.
Courts come to the child support amount in these cases from the parent’s total income table and the increased cost due to the shared parenting time.
2.3. Undue Hardship
Undue hardship can be applied when the set amount of child support in the federal guidelines is exceptionally unreasonable for the payor parent.
Also, this applies if the receiving child support is way too low for the custodian parent to make ends meet. Various reasons can be shown for this.
For example, if a person is extremely ill, has a massive debt, own another child to pay support to, and others.
Although it is hard to prove undue hardships in court, your house’s living condition is compared to your spouse’s. You may win if your living standards are lower than your ex-spouse’s.
2.4. Split Parenting Time/Split Custody
If the child lives with one of its parents for over 60% of their time, then this arrangement is called Split Custody.
According to the guidelines, the courts subtract the payment amount of the lower-paid spouse from the other party after reviewing their table amounts, and a new support amount will be decided.
If the child is a ‘child of marriage,’ the court may order a step-parent to pay for child support.
The family court considers several things regarding this, for example, what kind of a relationship the children have with their step-parent and think about them, how the step-parent perceives these children, and their relationship with their absent biological parent.
It is also possible for the step-parent to pay child support while the absentee parent is already doing so. The court can order the step-parent to pay a price different from the Child Support Guidelines.
2.6. Some Other Considerable Points Include
Special provisions included in the divorce settlement that help the child may reduce the amount of child support court order issued afterward.
An income of $1,50,000 can result in a massive increase in child support, much that may not be needed. You may be able to lessen the payment under this premise.
3. Things Not to Do Regarding Child Support
Ironically, thanks to the internet and many unreliable solutions to these problems, it’s hard to know what is helpful and what might harm you instead.
Here, we will discuss courses for less child support, which are little help.
3.1. Imputed Income
If the payor is intentionally underemployed or unemployed with intentions to pay less child support, then the court can impute income.
For context, if the payor parent used to pay for support from a particular career and doing that did not significantly change the time they spent with their children, then considering the circumstances, the court would assume that the parent can pay the same amount of money in the future.
Suppose the parent has intended to pause their financial career for some kind of career upgrade through educational institutes.
In that case, the court will investigate the matter thoroughly and adjust the payment accordingly. So, yeah, leaving your job to change child support is a wrong move to make.
3.2. Stopping Support Under Having Another Family to Provide
If the parent payor has a new family to support, that doesn’t exempt them from the court order.
It will not work out when you can prove that your current family’s living standard is low compared to the one you’re financially aiding (taking the reason to Undue Hardship).
3.3. Violating the Law
Alright, you don’t want to do this one, as the results can get pretty bad. In Ontario, the Family Responsibility Office enforces the violation of the law.
These agencies apply different methods to force you to pay for the support.
- Bank account seizure
- Blocking assets
- Suspension of passport and/or Driver’s license
- Plummet in credit score
So, as you can see, violating the law is never a good idea, especially regarding supporting your kid’s wellbeing.
3.4. Courts to File for Child or Spousal Support in Ontario
A total of three courts in Ontario, Canada, issue child and spousal support orders, namely:
- The Ontario Court of Justice
- The Superior Court of Justice
- The Family Court of The Superior Court of Justice
Now, as everything about money, law, and rights is over, let’s just sit briefly and look at the child. Children who go through the process of their parent’s divorce often get scarred for life. Their childhood gets drowned in the weight of support claims, custody, and court orders.
So, even if you are going through a separation from your partner, here is some advice to ensure your children don’t get the brunt of it. When getting a spousal support order, consult a professional family attorney to protect the children’s rights.
Additionally, there are proper procedures by the court to specify whether it is fine enough to alter child support payments. If there are genuine reasons, they may lower the child support payment. However, do not use the incorrect means to change the payment.
Lastly, ensure you’re doing everything possible to give your child the life they deserve despite all your situations.