Ontario CHILD SUPPORT Lawyer

Common questions & answers about child support law

How Much Child Support Will I Pay or Receive?

The "how much" question for child support has become one of the simplest questions of family law for a parent who is employed at a similar income to historic levels. There is now a legislated table where a few figures are input, and a child support number is spit out. 

For the self-employed parent, the child support calculation can be a bit more difficult, but in theory past income tax returns should be able to be relied upon to arrive at a support figure. 

The most difficult child support situations involve a parent who was or could be earning a significant income, but who is no longer doing do. Significant court fights can arise over whether income should be "imputed" to such a parent.

That payor parent might be able to defend the inability to work due to health or other reasons, while the claimant parent may argue that earning income at a particular historic level is still possible for the payor. If the payor parent is willfully underemployed it may lead to a higher level of support being payable even without an equivalent income. 

How Do I Decrease or Increase Child Support?

A "change of circumstances" motion is usually required to demand an increase or decrease to child support (because the payor is now earning much more or less than when the amount was initially established), unless a separation agreement or other operation of the law changes the amount. Such a motion might proceed on consent.

How Do I Terminate Child Support?

Child support is terminated in the same manner you would increase or decrease the support, or through operation of the law including the terms of a separation agreement which usually provides an age cut off for support if a child is no longer in school, and a higher age cut off even if the child is still in education. Practically, support usually terminates when a child is in his or her early 20s after one university degree, or at 18 after high school if no more schooling is pursued. 

How Do I Enforce Child Support Payments?

In Ontario the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) provides an effective and low cost way to enforce child support payments in many circumstances, upon the filing of a judgment with FRO. Garnishment of wages, and suspension of government privileges like licences are all possible sanctions against non-payors.

But there will be situations that make enforcement more complicated, like when the payor lives outside Ontario, or when the payor is self-employed or has hidden assets.