There is no set amount of child support in Ontario. The quantum of child support in Ontario varies from cases to case, and is determined based on a number of factors listed below.
How is Child Support Calculated in Canada?
The parent paying child support typically will pay what is called the “table amount”. The table amount lists the amount of money required for child support per month. This table amount is calculated through the use of the Federal Child Support Guidelines.
Under the Child Support Guidelines, the table amount is calculated based on the following criteria:
- The number of children;
- The province or territory where the paying parent lives; and
- The paying parent’s before-tax annual income.
For example, assume there are 2 children and the paying parent lives in Ontario and earns $50,000.00 dollars a year before taxes. Pursuant to the current Federal Child Support Guidelines, the table amount would be $755.00 per month in child support.
Child support calculators are available to assist with determining the quantum of child support. Several companies have developed software programs to do this. A popular and free option is to use the table amount look up on the Government of Canada’s Department of Justice website.
What age do you stop paying child support?
The requirement to pay child support ends when a child reaches the age of majority, which in Ontario is 18 years old. However, child support does not always end once a child reaches the age of majority. A child support requirement will continue if there are dependent children who are unable, by reason of illness, disability or other cause, to withdraw from their charge or to obtain the necessaries of life. For more information on how long you have to pay child support, see our previous blog.
Is child Support Mandatory in Ontario?
Yes, child support is mandatory in Ontario. The requirement falls upon both parents, including parents in common-law relationships and non-biological parents who have treated and cared for the child as their own.
It is important to understand that children have a legal right to financial support from both parents, and both parents have a legal responsibility to provide this support. Typically, only one parent makes child support payments because the other parent has primary care of the child. As such, the primary caregiving parent requires financial support from the other parent to help pay for the child’s needs.
Section 7 Special and Extraordinary Expenses
In addition to paying child support, parents are often required to contribute to any of the child’s special and extraordinary expenses. These expenses are referred to as section 7 expenses. An expense is considered special or extraordinary if it is both reasonable and necessary for the child’s best interest. This often refers to expenses that were part of the family’s spending pattern before separation. Some of these expenses include:
- Child and daycare fees (so that the parent can go to school or work)
- The child’s health expenses, like orthodontics, prescriptions, eyeglasses, counselling
- Educational expenses such as tutors or private school fees or post-secondary education
- Extracurricular activities, such as competitive sports, which are not covered by the table amount
In most cases, parents contribute to these expenses based on their respective incomes. So if the parties earn approximately the same amount, they will equally share any section 7 expenses. If you are unsure of whether a specific expense falls under the parameters of section 7, look to see whether the expense is both reasonable and necessary. If you are still unsure, it is advisable to seek legal advice.
Nussbaum Law is a Toronto based law firm that exclusively practices family and divorce law.