• Child Support in Ontario

    How Much Do I Have to Pay?

    Whenever a father and mother of a child stop living together, or if they have never resided together, the custodial parent (i.e. the parent with whom the child is residing), can request child support from the other parent.

    In Ontario, the amount of child support that a parent has to pay is determined by the child support guidelines. You can access these guidelines on the Internet. Simply type in "Ontario Child Support Guidelines", look up the annual income of the payor, go to the number of children, and the chart will tell you how much monthly child support should be paid.

    The monthly amount of child support pursuant to this chart, is just the starting point. In addition, the custodial parent of the child can also request a contribution towards daycare expenses, health and dental expenses not covered by insurance reimbursement, and extraordinary expenses for extra-curricular activities.

    All of these additional expenses are referred to as s.7 expenses. While the court "may" order a contribution to these expenses, and it is not automatic, in the vast majority of cases, the courts do require the support payor to pay the monthly guideline amount (from the chart), plus an additional amount, referred to as a "proportionate contribution" towards s.7 expenses.

    Proportionate means that each parent contributes based on his/her gross income. For example, if your spouse earns double what you do, then he or she would have to contribute twice as much as you, to the additional expense.

    In addition, if the additional expenses, are tax deductible to the support recipient (the parent who is receiving the child support), or if there is a tax credit associated with the activity, (some activities have fitness tax credits), the required contribution is to the after tax cost.

    For example, with daycare, the support recipient claims the daycare expense as a tax deduction. As a result, the support payor would only contribute to the cost of daycare, after the tax deduction has been calculated. Lawyers have access to software and charts that enables the lawyer to determine the tax consequences, provided that each person's gross income is known.

    You must also note that child and spousal support is based upon your gross income: your income before any tax deductions at all. It is therefore critical for there to be accurate disclosure about each party' s income, usually by way of income tax returns, assessment notices, T4s, pay stubs, and/or letters from an employer that state the annual income the employee is earning.

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