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Typically the parent who is not the primary caregiver of the child becomes the payor parent. The primary caregiver is where the child spends more than 60 percent of their time.
In this case, the amount the payor parent pays is determined by the Child Support Guidelines under the table section for their specific Canadian province.
Shared parenting does not necessarily remove the child support obligation
Where the child spends at least 40 percent with either of their parents, the law refers to this as shared parenting. This does not always remove the obligation to pay child support.
A consideration will have to be made on the difference between the two parents’ income, beyond their obligations under the Child Support Guidelines. The difference between what the individual parents would have to pay under the Child Support Guidelines if they were the payor parent would have to be set off.
The parent who earns more will have to pay the set-off amount. But there are also other considerations that may affect the final set-off amount. These are technical family law matters that call for the expertise of a child support lawyer.
Every parent has an obligation to support their child. It is the child’s right. Even where you were never married to the child’s other parent, you have a responsibility to pay child support.
You do not have to have lived with the other parent or had an ongoing relationship with them to pay child support. You don’t even need to be a biological parent. In other cases, even a step parent may have to pay child support.
In Ontario, child support is the right of the child, not the parents’. Even if you don’t spend any time with the child, you must still pay child support. Child support is also not to be confused with child access or parenting time and neither has any effect on the other.
The amount you pay in child support does not change whether the support recipient’s income improves or if they enter into a new relationship that may cause an upgrade in their living standard.
Child support is based on the payor parent’s income, not the support recipient’s. That also means if your own income as the payor parent improves, you may be asked to pay more in child support.
At De Sa & Associates we also get a lot of inquiries from parents who are of the opinion that child support stops when the child turns 18 years old. This is a myth. In Ontario, the law does not set automatic dates for when child support ends, which means it does not automatically end when the child turns 18.
Typically a child support order or a domestic contract that you negotiate as the child’s parents sets what’s called a ‘terminating event’, which could be when the child leaves school or finds full-time work. Where there is no set terminating event, you must agree on one. If you can’t agree, you will have to go to court and let a judge decide.
The child support arena is complex and depends a lot on individual cases. To fully understand your rights and obligations, you will need to consult a child support lawyer. We have several that are experienced and ready to take your case right now.