Children need the support of both parents. In the case of separation, the non-custodial parent has a legal obligation to support a child. All children under the age of majority or unable to live independently due to illness or disability are eligible for child support.
Child support is the money that one parent pays to another to support their children financially after a divorce or separation.
In Canada, child support law adopts the principle that all children should continue to benefit from the financial means of both parents as if they were still together. Both parents have a legal responsibility to provide child support, meaning that separation or divorce does not change that ongoing obligation.
Child support is considered the right of the child. There is no legal possibility of relinquishing the duty to support a child by contracting with the other parent.
The federal government has established applicable throughout the country. The Federal Child Support Guidelines apply to orders under the federal Divorce Act and the provincial Family Law Act. The Guidelines also apply to divorced or separated parents seeking to vary child support.
In determining child support amounts, child support guidelines are the law. Nevertheless, parents may decide that another sum is more suitable for them and their child. On the other hand, the judge will always determine the child support amount according to the Guidelines. The exception applies if there are special provisions that benefit the child.
There are two ways to arrange child support: an agreement between the parents or court order.
If former spouses preserved amicable relationships, they can negotiate and agree on child support on their own without involving a court. That allows them significant flexibility regarding the amount to be paid. The only requirement is that the amount of money is fair and mutually binding. Regardless of the agreement, the amount is always subject to review by a court. If any party becomes dissatisfied with the arrangement, it can petition the court to modify it.
If the Court determines the child support amount, the judge will issue an order following the rules set out in The Child Support Guidelines.
In any case, the child support amount is subject to changes, especially in the case of so-called undue hardships. One parent can ask for modification if they have the responsibility to support a child in their new family. In such a case, the Court must determine whether these circumstances make it difficult for the claimant to pay the specific amount and which household has a lower standard of living.
Child support typically ends when the child reaches a certain age or on a date set out in an agreement or a Court order. Otherwise, the child support continues until the agreement or Court order is changed.
The non-custodial parent pays the child support to the other parent. In rare cases, the Court may order direct payment to the child.
Sometimes, one parent may not want to receive child support from the other parent. It is worth reiterating that child support is a fundamental right. Parents cannot refuse it on behalf of the child. Otherwise, the judge can refuse to grant a divorce.
In general, the child support amount is calculated based on income, the residence of the recipient, the number of children involved, and the province or territory where the parents live.
The amounts in each case rely on the tables set out in the child support guidelines. The officials designed them using a formula that involves the following: gross income of the parent, cost of living, provincial income tax, and average national amounts that families spend to care for children.
To calculate the individual child support amount using the New Brunswick Guidelines, one must first determine the number of children requiring the support. The next step is determining the parenting time arrangement. After that, it remains to calculate annual income and determine the extraordinary expenses or the presence of undue hardships.
At Haller Law, we specialize in child support laws, both federal and provincial.
Since 2004, Mr. Haller’s extensive experience in the field of family law, custody law, and child support is a helpful resource for each parent dealing with this sensitive issue.
Whether you need an expert lawyer to help you draft a child support agreement, or you wish to file for a court order to change the amount because of undue hardships, do not hesitate to call us today and schedule your appointment at 516-204-1203.