Parenting can be an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience. But it can also be a financial burden, particularly if you’re the one who has to financially support your child. That’s where child support comes in – a government-mandated system of financial support designed to help parents who have dependent children. Child support is money paid by one parent to the other to equalize the financial burden of childrearing between households of divorced families. It is determined based on a number of factors, including the gross income of the parents involved, the number of children involved, and the parenting time schedule of the parents. Child support is meant to help with housing, clothing, food costs, school and activities, as well as reasonable, necessary special expenses. There are some complexities to determining child support, but don’t worry – understanding child support guidelines is easy with this blog. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this essential government-mandated system.
What is child support?
Child support is a financial obligation that parents (whether guardian or contact parent) must agree to in order to provide for their children. The amount of child support each party is responsible for varies based on a number of factors, including income, parenting time schedule, and the child’s age, health, education, and special needs. If one parent fails to meet their obligations under child support, the other can take legal action to enforce their payments. There are several ways you can find out about your rights and responsibilities as a recipient of child support – contact an attorney or visit the website of the Province of British Columbia, which administers BC’s Family Maintenance Enforcement Program. Make sure to research the guidelines of your state, so you know your rights and which steps to take if you encounter any problems.
In the United States, child support is a financial obligation that parents of children under the age of 18 are usually required to pay. The amount of child support paid can vary greatly depending on many factors, including the income and expenses of the parents involved and the number of children receiving support.
How is child support determined?
When one of the parents of a child is not paying child support, the child can suffer. In order to help prevent this from happening, the child support guidelines of Canada are relied upon by the courts. These guidelines determine the amount of child support that’s ordered, based upon the gross income of the paying parent. If parenting time is shared, these guidelines take into account the income of each parent, as well as the tax rules of the province in which the paying parent resides.
If the parents can’t agree on the amount of support, a court will step in and order a support amount that’s fair and equitable for both parents, based on their disclosed financial documents. If disclosure is incomplete, the court may impute income and order child support based on that amount. Additionally, if one of the parents has special care or responsibilities for the child, payments may be required for these special expenses, in addition to child support. Special expenses could include
- child-care expenses that you may have to pay as a result of a job, an illness, a disability, or as a result of educational requirements for employment, if your child spends the majority of the time with you
- the portion of your medical and dental insurance premiums that provides coverage for your child
- your child’s health-care needs that exceed $100 per year if the cost is not covered by insurance (for example, orthodontics, counselling, medication or eye care)
- expenses for post-secondary education
- extraordinary expenses for your child’s primary education, secondary education or any other educational programs that meet your child’s particular needs
- extraordinary expenses for your child’s extracurricular activities
If the parent fails to pay child support, collections action may be taken, which could include retroactive support for all years missed, plus interest and, potentially, the court costs of the opposing party. Child support payments are enforced provincially, and it may be necessary to register your order with the appropriate Maintenance Enforcement Program. By knowing the child support guidelines of Canada, you can help protect your child and ensure they’re receiving the support they need.
A child support order is a court order that requires one, or both, of the parents to financially support their child. Child support can be ordered in situations where the parents share parenting duties or when there is only one guardian or custodial parent . In most cases, child support payments are made monthly but occasionally a lump sum is ordered.
Who pays child support?
Child support is a legal obligation that parents living in Canada are required to pay. Most provinces have reciprocal agreements regarding the enforcement of child support with many countries around the world. This payment is made to help financially support children who are living at least part of the time with either parent, with the intention of equalizing the family finances between households. The amount of child support that a parent must pay depends on several factors, including the income and resources of the parents involved, as well as child support paid for other children. If one or both parents fail to meet their obligations, they may face penalties like a wage garnishment or seizure of assets. Make sure you understand the child support guidelines so that you can pay your child support obligation on time and without any complications.
A support order is a court order obliging one person to financially support another. In Canada, child support payments are enforced by provincial maintenance enforcement programs, which have special powers such as
- interception of federal sources of income such as income tax refunds or EI payments
- attachment of wages, bank accounts or other sources of income
- cancellation of a current driver’s licence or prevent a new licence being issued
- prevention of a a motor vehicle registration being issued or renewed
- suspension of a passport or federal licences such as pilot’s licence
- reporting unpaid maintenance to a credit bureau
- issuance of a summons of the payor to a default hearing in court
- issue of a lien against the payor’s personal property or land
- request of a search for the payor’s location, employment and assets through federal and provincial databases
- default fees and interest for late or missed payments
When can the parent paying child support stop making payments?
Has your child stopped being “a child of the marriage”? Parenting responsibilities don’t stop just because a child turns 18 or graduates from college. An end to your child support obligation often needs to be negotiated. Of course, the same can be said for an extension, re-instatement or retroactive payment. Much depends upon the prospects for said child’s independence.
It should be noted that parental support is often still mandatory even if contact between parents and children has ceased completely. Although this is sometimes a factor for consideration by the court, an enduring relationship is seldom necessary for enduring child-rearing responsibility. The required amount of support fluctuates with each parent’s income, and other circumstances, so it’s important to request or submit updated income statements each year. If your are the paying parent, you don’t want to be hit with a battle over arrears because your fortunes have improved. Or, if your income has taken a downturn and you’re finding your family making sacrifices to meet child support obligations, you might being paying more than you should. That’s why it’s so important to stay up-to-date on child support guidelines, so you can make appropriate payments on time and avoid any penalties. If you’re ever unsure of your obligations you may need to speak to an experienced family law lawyer, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
How often should payments be made?
Paying child support is a responsibility that both parents must take seriously. The child support guidelines of Canada state that payments should be made on a regular basis, depending on the circumstances of the case. This frequency will most likely be based convenience, rather than on the amount of time the parents share custody of their child, or their income levels. There are circumstances when it is beneficial to agree to a lump sum payment of child support, though it should be noted that this amount can always be changed if, for example, the paying parent’s income increases.
Payment of child support is most commonly done on a monthly basis, to conveniently role into the housing, education, food and other monthly expenses associated with childrearing. Payment arrangements can also be made through the provincial maintenance enforcement program, which, as mentioned above, has special powers to enforce child support orders that are registered with them. So, whether you’re a parent receiving child support or paying child support, make sure to avoid enforcement hassles by staying on top of your obligations.
The child support guidelines of Canada are designed to provide financial support for children of divorced parents. By understanding the guidelines, you can make informed decisions about child support and ensure that the children of your family are taken care of.
At Fleetwood Family Law, we understand the importance of child support payments and can provide you with accurate information about the guidelines that are in place and how they will impact your obligations to your children from year to year. Contact us yearly to schedule a consultation!