Child support is money paid by one parent to another after a divorce or separation to ensure that the couple’s children are properly cared for. Importantly, even though they are related and both handled by family law, child support is different from and paid in addition to spousal support.
If you are wondering how child support works in Canada, here is what you should know about it. THE BASICS It is important to mention that child support is itself a right of the child, not of the parent who has custody of him or her. This means both parents are required to provide support for their kids. This is because divorce does not remove a parent’s legal responsibility to financially support their children. Since kids themselves are entitled to child support, a parent cannot refuse child support payments from the other parent. It simply is not their money to turn down. In fact, in some cases the judge will order that support be paid directly to the child if he or she is at or above the age of majority. THE AMOUNT The specific amount to be paid is determined on a case-by-case basis. It will depend on a large number of factors, including the number of children, the income of both parents, any special health considerations, and more. At the federal level, the Federal Child Support Guidelines provide rigid rules for determining support amounts. These rules are used in all cases unless the parents both reside in New Brunswick, Manitoba or Quebec, as these provinces have their own guidelines. Note that two parents can agree with each other on how much the payments will be, and this amount can be higher or lower than the federal guidelines. However, in any case where a judge is asked to make a decision about child support, they will typically strictly adhere to the guidelines. This is different from spousal support payments, which are not as rigidly determined THE DURATION Child support orders or agreements often specify an end point, typically when the child reaches a certain age. However, it does not have to be the age of majority. An agreement with no end date will remain in place until altered. FAMILY LAWYERS IN NEWFOUNDLAND Whether you want to ensure an amicable arrangement respects your rights or need counsel to navigate a difficult situation, Gittens & Associates is here to help. Contact us today to make an appointment.