Child Support and Special and Extraordinary Expenses
Child support is the amount of money paid by one parent to the other for the care and upbringing of dependant children.
A parent or stepparent may be obliged to pay child support even if he or she was not married to the other parent.
The federal government has introduced the Child Support Guidelines. This is legislation that determines the amount of child support that is payable based on the custody arrangement, the number of children and the payor’s annual income.
At the Quay Law Centre, our lawyers can help you understand these guidelines and negotiate a child support agreement that conforms to these rules. To learn more about child support and how we can help you, contact our Vancouver family law group today to schedule an appointment with one of our qualified lawyers.
Canada’s Federal Child Support Guidelines
In British Columbia and all other Canadian provinces and territories, child support orders are based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines contain tables listing the amount of child support the noncustodial parent must pay based on his or her income and the number of children. Each province or territory has its own table, and the table to be used is the one for the province or territory where the payor lives.
The table amount of child support represents the payor’s contribution to the child’s expenses in the recipient’s home, e.g., food, clothing and shelter.
The Family Maintenance Enforcement Program is a government organization that monitors and enforces court-ordered child support payments.
Special and Extraordinary Expenses
There is another category of expenses called section 7 expenses or special and extraordinary expenses. In addition to child support, additional provisions for childcare, education and other special and extraordinary expenses are available as determined by section 7 of the Child Support Guidelines.
- Day care expenses for the custodial parent to go to work
- Health expenses
- Tutoring costs
- Extracurricular activities
- Post-secondary expenses
If there is an expense that fits into section 7, then that expense is generally shared in proportion to the income of the parents. Thus, if the parents earn the same income then they pay 50% of the expense. If one earns more than his or her spouse, then he or she pays a higher percentage of the expense.
Applicable deductions may apply for child care expenses and extracurricular sports activities.
Determining the Payor’s Income
Income for the purpose of child support is based on line 150 of an individual’s income tax return and notice of assessment. If the payor’s income varies significantly each year, the court may determine the payor’s income by averaging the past three year’s income.
There are also instructions set out to calculate the income of self-employed individuals and guidelines for imputing income under certain circumstances.
Child support is not taxable to the recipient or deductible to the payor.
The process can be more complex in circumstances where one or both parents own their own business. It is likely you will need a lawyer to assist in these circumstances.
If you are the payor and you believe the amount established by the child support guidelines is unreasonable based on your unique circumstances, you may ask for a variation by showing undue hardship based on financial factors such as:
- A high level of debt
- Other support payments being made for children of another family
- Support for a disabled or ill person
- Unusually high expenses incurred in visiting the child or children
For experienced representation by a group devoted to family law, contact Quay Law Centre at 604-527-1161. From our multiple offices, we represent clients in the Metro-Vancouver area, including Surrey, Fraser Valley, Tri-Cities, Burnaby, Kelowna, and any other area throughout B.C., Canada and internationally.