Vaughan Child Support Lawyers
Child support is payable in most separations or divorces involving financially dependent children. Support is determined pursuant to the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which set out specific amounts of support based on factors such as which parenting arrangement applies, the number of children and the payor’s income. Child support is not deductible from income for the payor and is not included in the income of the recipient for tax purposes. Child support payments are given priority status over spousal support, and as a result, they are always determined first, before spousal support, in the event of a separation or divorce.
At Bortolussi Family Law in Vaughan, our family lawyers have been advising and representing the interests of our clients in child support disputes since 1984. We are considerably experienced in all manners of child support dispute resolution, including negotiation, mediation, collaborative family law, and litigation. We understand the undue stress the financial aspects of a separation can place on our clients, and we do everything we can to alleviate that stress. We ensure clients have a realistic and honest picture of their rights and obligations from the outset and keep an open line of communication with each client throughout the process, so they are never taken by surprise. We provide clients with confidence in the process by bringing clarity throughout.
We have faced all sorts of tactics from family lawyers, including bullying techniques and are unfazed by all of it. We press forward on each client’s behalf, with the facts and the law as our guide. We are not intimidated by these tactics, nor do we engage in them.
How Is the Calculation of Child Support Determined?
The Federal Child Support Guidelines dictate how much support is payable. The amount is based on the payor’s gross annual income and the number of children. Based on the parenting arrangement, the payor’s annual gross income, number of children, and province of residence, the Child Support Tables will determine the monthly table amount of child support payable.
In addition to the monthly table amount, spouses will have to share the cost of certain additional expenses, like childcare or post-secondary school tuition. These expenses are referred to “section 7 expenses” or special expenses. Other expenses which are often added to the table amount of child support are called extraordinary expenses. Parents can agree upon which expenses will be considered extraordinary. When there is a dispute as to whether an expense is “extraordinary”, the courts will make that determination based on factors such as whether these expenses were paid for the child before separation and whether it is reasonable in all of the circumstances that the parents continue to contribute to those expenses in proportion to their respective incomes.
Is Child Support Payable When Parents Share Parenting Time?
Child support will be payable in most cases. The only instance in which child support may not be payable is when the children reside equally in each parent’s home and both parents earn the same annual income.
If children reside with each parent more than 40% of the time (shared custody), the child support amount payable usually begins with a set-off amount. The set-off is determined by calculating the child support amount each parent would pay the other parent based on their income from all sources, and then calculating the difference between the two payments. Parents will often decide that the parent who must pay the higher amount of support will pay the set-off amount to the other parent. It is important to understand however that it may be wise for each parent to actually make the payment they owe to the other parent. Sometimes the set-off amount is further adjusted but there is no guarantee that support will be adjusted. This will depend on the facts and circumstances involved in your case.
To illustrate how a set-off calculation works, let’s consider the following example: Mom and Dad have one child. If the child lived full time with Mom, Dad would have to pay $1,000.00 per month. If the child lived full time with Dad, Mom would have to pay $1,200.00 per month. In this case, the child splits his time equally between Mom and Dad’s home, so Mom pays Dad $200.00 per month. Remember, the calculation does not end here. Other factors may mean that an adjustment must be made to the set-off amount.
Calculating Parenting Time for Child Support Purposes
In calculating the amount of time the children spend with each parent, there is no one way that is accepted in calculating this as a percentage. Scheduled overnight time is often used but the courts have also used the hours spent in each home. How hours spent at school or daycare are not always consistently attributed to the parent dropping them off or picking them up. In any of these calculations, there are thresholds of time that can trigger a review of which parenting arrangement should apply and whether the full table amount of child support is appropriate.
Enforcing Unpaid Child Support
If your spouse refuses to pay support, you may need to go to court to get a support order.
If you have a signed agreement requiring your spouse to pay support and he or she stops paying, your agreement can be registered with the court and sent to the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) for enforcement. The Family Responsibility Office has the power to take certain actions to collect support and enforce support if necessary, such as:
- Deduction of support from income and wages;
- Garnishee of the payor’s bank accounts and other money owing to the payor;
- Registering a lien against the payor’s property; or
- Suspending the payor’s driver’s licence or passport.
Contact the Divorce Lawyers at Bortolussi Family Law in Vaughan for Representation in Child Support Disputes
At Bortolussi Family Law, our divorce lawyers are dedicated to resolving child support disputes for our clients in accordance with their rights under the law. We strive to ensure that our clients pay a fair amount of support and that support recipients receive the child support to which they are entitled. From our office in Vaughan, we assist clients from across the Greater Toronto Area, extending out to Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Caledon, Concord, Vaughan, Bolton, Nobleton, Markham, and Etobicoke and all areas in between with child support matters as part of the separation and divorce process.
To discuss your circumstances and learn about the options available to you, please reach out to us online or by phone at 416-987-3300.