1) If my child(ren) live 50/50 with each parent, there is no obligation to pay support
This may be true but is likely not. If child(ren) spend more than 40% of their time at each parent’s home, this is referred to as shared parenting. In these circumstances, child support can be different than the child support guidelines. The first step in determining child support obligations in a shared parenting arrangement is to determine each parent’s income for support purposes and determine their child support obligation in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines.
The second step is to determine the ‘set-off’ amount of child support. This is determined by deducting the lower support payment from the higher payment. For example:
- Parent one’s obligation: $500
- Parent two’s obligation: $250
- Set-off support – parent one pays $250
Although this is a good starting point, it is not always the final answer.
The final step is to examine whether the child(ren)’s standard of living will be relatively similar at each parent’s home. This allows for some adjustment to be made to the set-off amount of child support.
2) The Family Responsibility Office (“FRO”) will change my support payments if I send them my income information and stop my child support payments once my children reaches the age of majority
This is inaccurate. FRO has jurisdiction to enforce court orders, or written agreements. They do not have the authority to amend the support being paid without an amending order, agreement, or on the consent of both parties. FRO does not have the authority to reassess child support obligations. If your child support obligation has ended, the recipient can file a notice of withdrawal from FRO, at this point, FRO will cease enforcement.
3) The support recipient’s income changes my child support obligation
This is sometimes accurate. If the child(ren)spends more than 40% of their time in each parents’ care, then a set-off of child support, as described above, may be appropriate. If the child(ren) spends less than 40% of their time with either parent then the support recipients (primary caregiver) income does not affect child support. The support recipient’s income is considered in determining each parent’s contribution to the child(ren)’s section 7 extraordinary expenses. These expenses are typically paid proportionate to parent’s income.
4) I, or a third-party agency, can control or monitor how child support is spent. If child support is not used to purchase items directly for the child, I do not have to pay
This is inaccurate. The support payor, nor a third-party agency, have the ability to control or monitor how child support is spent by the support recipient.
5) My ex receives child support from another payor as well as the child tax benefit; this reduces my obligation to pay support
This is inaccurate. Your ex may receive child support from other individuals, this will not effort your obligation to pay support for your biological child. This may affect the amount of support you pay for stepchildren if you have been found to stand in the place of a parent (loco parentis).
In accordance with the Child Support Guidelines, the support recipient’s receipt of child tax benefit does not affect the payor’s child support obligation.
Talk to a family lawyer, to ensure you understand your rights and your obligations. Written by Shannon More Family Law Lawyer at Galbraith Family Law. To book a consultation with Shannon, please click here.