It can be financially draining when you are a single parent who has the financial responsibility to support themselves and their child.
If you are divorced or in the process of getting divorced, the Federal Child Support Guidelines will apply. If you and the other parent were never married, the provincial guidelines will apply. In Alberta, the provincial child support guidelines will fall under the Family Law Act. For the purposes of this article, we will focus on Child Support under the Divorce Act.
Under the Divorce Act, a parent has a responsibility to support the child of the marriage if they are under the age of majority or if they have reached the age of majority but are still dependent due to an illness, disability, or other cause.
The amount of child support owed to the parent whose primary care the child is under, is dependent on what province the parties live in, how many dependent children there are and what your guideline income is. Your guideline income can be found in line 150 of your tax return or notice of assessment.
If you and the other parent have shared and equal parenting time with the child, child support payments are calculated according to the guideline income of both parents. The parent with the higher income will pay the difference in the amount of child support they owe compared to the amount the other parent owes based on their guideline income.
If you need assistance in determining how much child support is owed according to the number of children and your guideline income, you can use the 2017 Child Support Table Look-up found on the Government of Canada’s website.
In addition to the base child support discussed above, a parent can also recover special or extraordinary expenses. These are reasonable and necessary expenses relating to the child. Such expenses include childcare, medical and health related expenses, medical and other health insurance, and school expenses. These expenses are proportionately divided between the parties according to their respective incomes. If a parent wishes to include a special expense that is not agreed upon by the other parent, you may ask a judge to decide for you. The judge will consider whether the expense is in the child’s best interests, whether the expense is reasonable, whether the parties can afford the expense and whether this expense was incurred before the parents separated.
If the other parent is seeking both spousal support and child support and you do not have sufficient funds to pay both, courts will give priority to child support.
Talk to one of our family lawyers today to help you get started on your process!