As parents, we understand our moral and legal obligation to support our children. However, when our relationship with the other parent is broken by separation or divorce, this straightforward responsibility becomes a lot more emotional and complicated.
At Galbraith Family Law, we understand that this is a difficult time for you. Although your marriage or relationship didn’t work out, you still love your children and want to ensure they have the best life possible. Let us help you do that by advocating for an arrangement that provides them with the security and opportunities they deserve.
Why Choose Galbraith Family Law for Your Child Support Case?
Matters involving children are intensely personal. Whether you’re figuring out the support process, dealing with a parent who won’t pay, or worried about your own ability to make payments, a Toronto child support lawyer can help you address these challenges.
At Galbraith Family Law, we often see clients who are angry, frightened, sad, anxious or a combination of all. Many of us are divorced parents ourselves, so we know what they’re going through. By listening to you, we can understand what you need and help you obtain it. As divorce lawyers, we pay close attention to changes and developments in Ontario family law, so we can always give you relevant guidance for your child support case.
Ontario Child Support Guidelines Explained
In Ontario, child support is governed by the Family Law Act, the Ontario Child Support Guidelines, and the federal Child Support Tables. The amount of monthly support is generally based on the payor's gross income and the number of children, with a shared or split custody arrangement resulting in some sort of offset. In some cases, parents can get a variation from the child support guidelines (receiving more or paying less) if they can show that such a change is reasonable and necessary.
Monthly child support is intended to cover day-to-day costs such as:
- Shelter (can include rental increases for a larger home)
- Regular school costs
Expenses beyond those covered by this support, such as medical and dental insurance premiums and extraordinary school expenses, are normally paid in proportion to the parent’s respective incomes.
While these laws and guidelines are straightforward, applying them during a separation or divorce can result in bitter disputes. During an argument over money or obligations, it’s easy to forget what’s best for the children. Our caring and skilled Toronto child support lawyers have dealt with several ch support cases and can help you achieve the resolution your child deserves.
Calculating Child Support in Ontario
While the amount of support you may receive or have to pay will ultimately depend on your family’s unique circumstances as well as the published guidelines, the Department of Justice has developed a tool that can give you an idea of what the monthly payments may be.
It is important to note that the figures generated will only be estimates, not confirmed amounts. The number you receive may be adjusted based on provincial or territorial guidelines and the specifics of your custody agreement. (The calculator works on the assumption that your children will be living with one parent 40% of the time.) The courts will determine a child support amount that works for your family based on your specific situation.
Working with an experienced child custody lawyer can help ensure that the final support arrangement works for everyone involved and is within Ontario's currently approved legal guidelines.
How Does Child Support Work if You Have a 50/50 Custody Arrangement?
One common misconception is that if parents have shared or split custody, no child support needs to be paid. This is not the case. While support is still payable, the actual amount may be modified. For instance, in a shared custody arrangement, once child support has been calculated for each parent, the lesser amount is deducted from the high one, and the parent who earns more will pay the other parent the difference.
Your Toronto divorce lawyer can explain how a child support order may work based on your financial circumstances. The goal is always to provide the children with the support they need in a financially sustainable arrangement for the payor.
Does Child Support Automatically Stop When a Child Turns 18?
Not necessarily. Children over 18 can still qualify as dependents. Whether they are capable of supporting themselves is the question. In most cases, adult children will be considered dependent if they are going to school full time, have an illness or disability, or are living with a chronic condition that can leave them dependent their entire lives.
If your adult child is still in school, the court may still order support but treat that child differently than one who is under 18. For example, it may order a variation on the amount in the child support tables or attribute some of the post-secondary expenses to the adult child and require the parents to pay the rest.
Many Ontario courts will order child support until the child finishes their first degree. Support may even continue during the pursuit of a second undergraduate degree/diploma as well as graduate school. The facts and circumstances of the case as well as the adult child's abilities will determine this decision.
Are Child Support Guidelines Different for High-Income Parents?
Federal child support guidelines consider income ranges between $8,000 and $150,000. If the paying parent earns more than $150,000, the court will consider any special or extraordinary expenses the children may have, such as orthodontics, health care, and extracurricular activities such as sports, summer camp, and after-school pursuits.
The Table amount for one child at an income of $150,000 annually in 2023 is $1,299 per month. When the paying parent earns more, a certain percentage is added to the monthly support amount.
Ontario courts generally follow the table formula unless the paying spouse's income becomes excessively high, at which point the standard monthly support amount could become unconscionable. This is usually the case in wealthy families where the paying parent has a multi-million dollar income.
Questions About Support Obligations? Speak With a Toronto Child Support Lawyer
At Galbraith Family Law, we know that separation and divorce are a time of transition- for your children as well as yourself. Negotiating a support arrangement can be emotionally and financially stressful, so we offer personal support and legal guidance to help you through the process. For more information about child support in Toronto or to schedule a consultation with a child support lawyer, please call 647-370-8965 or contact us online. We also serve clients in and around Barrie, Newmarket, Oakville, and North York.