Most parents are aware of their, or their former spouse’s legal obligation to pay child support after separation, but not all parents are aware of how child support is calculated by the Courts. While the Federal Child Support Guidelines and provincial tables can be easily found online, a proper calculation of child support involves many considerations, which is often not as black and white as it appears.
Whether your matter involves child support from an employee or a self-employed individual, the law also allows for certain additions and deductions from income for child support purposes. It is important to remember that many deductions from income that are allowed under the Income Tax Act may not be allowed for child support, and vice versa. It is also important to take into consideration the tax consequences of certain shared expenses (i.e.: child care) before the expense is shared.
The Court may also allow parents to deviate from the table amounts in cases when there is split or shared custody of children, when one parent is not employed to their full abilities, or when payment of the full child support table amount would cause the parent undue hardship.
A lawyer can also help you to review your child support obligations on an ongoing basis to avoid ending up having to pay (or be owed) a large amount of child support arrears, often known as “back-pay”.
Given that each situation is unique, it is important to involve a lawyer no matter what side you are on.