The Canadian Federal and the Ontario Provincial Child Support Guidelines are in place to set out the important rules and tables that dictate how much child support should be paid by a parent for the benefit of the child or children.

The Canadian Federal Child Support Guidelines stem from the Divorce Act and apply to couples who were or are legally married. The Ontario Provincial Child Support Guidelines come from the Family Law Act and these are in place for the couples who were never legally married.

Here are some facts about the guidelines that you may find interesting:

1. Fair Standards

The main aim of these guidelines is primarily to set a fair standard of support in place for all children across Ontario, ensuring that cases have a basis to work on and that no child is left without financial means.

2. Reduce Conflict and Tension

These guidelines, although strict, have actually been proven to reduce the conflict and stress between separated parents as the need for evidence and opinions is reduced. Each parent must work within the guidelines and can come to an agreement much easier. They promote amicable behaviour as they make child support calculations fair, objective, and predictable.

3. Negate Need for Courts

Using the guidelines can be a great way for parents to avoid having to go to court. Going to court can be incredibly stressful for both parents and the children, so if there is a way to avoid this, then these alternative routes of agreement should always be considered first.

4. Child Support Tables

The tables included in the guidelines determine how much a parent will pay towards child support on a monthly basis. This is based on the province that the parent resides in, the number of children that require support, and the full income of the paying parent. The tables are created based on data that portrays the average spending on children within families at various income levels across Canada. As a result, the payable cost set is always relative to the individual circumstances of those involved, and so it allows a sense of personalization rather than “one rule fits all” guideline.

5. Annual Adjustments

In normal circumstances, the table amount of child support payable is adjusted on an annual basis. This means any changes within the dynamics of the family demands or work positions can be accounted for. The amount of support payable is susceptible to increase or decrease based on all the personal circumstances, and so families should be aware that a yearly assessment is always needed.

6. Special and Extraordinary Expenses

Section 7 of the guidelines dictates the rules for special and extraordinary circumstances. Anybody who has raised a child knows there are far more expenses that simple food and clothes. The payer needs to account for and make contribution to things such as education needs and school funding requirements in terms of trips and equipment needed. There are also medical care and dental bills that will need to be shared between the parents. These are shared by the parents in respect to each of their incomes.

7. Not Taxable

One bonus is that child support payments are not taxable in the hands of the receiver, and neither is the payer liable for deductions on this money. This helps both parents and means the full amount is sent and received from one parent to the other, allowing the child as much stability as possible after an unfortunate family break up.

These guidelines have added a lot of clarity to child support payments between separated parents. If you find yourself in these unfortunate circumstances, it may be wise to consult a family lawyer who can assist you in making an amicable agreement with your ex-partner, without the need to involve the courts.