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Child Support Primer

While separating spouses may bristle at the idea of providing financial support to each other, child support is an inescapable legal obligation. Although paid by one parent to the other, financial support is a right that belongs to the child itself. Our post this week provides a crash course on the basics of child support and how it functions after a separation or divorce.

What Child Support Covers

Child support ensures that a child continues to be cared for financially despite a family breakdown. It’s designed to cover normal, basic expenses of daily living such as for housing, food, clothing and education.

How Child Support Payments Are Determined

A separating couple can agree in writing on how much one pays the other, or a court can make the decision for them. In both contexts, federal Child Support Guidelines serve as a starting point.

When Amounts Go Above And Beyond

In some cases, child support may encompass special or extraordinary expenses that exceed everyday basic needs. These might include private school tuitions, extracurricular activities for gifted children, programs for children with special needs and childcare costs for a working or ill custodial parent. Read more about extraordinary expenses in one of our past blog posts.

Who Pays Whom

The absent or noncustodial parent typically pays child support amounts to the custodial parent, and generally, the party with higher income to the lower. Child support offsets imbalances and spreads the financial responsibility equitably between both parents.

Aside from biological mother and father, other figures, such as an adoptive parent, same-sex partner or possibly a step-parent, may be obliged to pay child support.

When Support Ends

Parents have the legal obligation to financially support their children as long as they continue dependent. In Ontario, the 18-years-old age of majority generally applies, but exceptions exist. Disabled adult children or those continuing a full-time academic program may still be considered dependent. Those who marry as teenagers or who leave home of their own accord before turning 18 may no longer be the parents’ financial responsibility.

Child support is one of the fundamental factors to consider before separating or divorcing.

If you’re navigating the details, call us.

Our lawyers can protect your legal and financial interests.

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