Child and Spousal Support
The Access parent usually has to pay the parent with custody money to help cover the costs of taking care of the children. This payment is called child support. The amount of child support to be paid in Ontario is set out under the Child Support Guidelines and is based on the income of the person who does not have primary residence of the children. In rare cases, a court can award less than the guideline amount where paying the amount would cause undue hardship to the payer. The person paying support must provide yearly updated financial information to the support recipient. All or part of expenses for extra-curricular activities, also known as “special expenses” may also have to paid in addition to child support. Child support usually is payable until the child reaches 18 years of age. Should the child continue to post-secondary education, the payer could continue to be responsible to pay support well into the child’s 20s. If a child has a disability, support could be payable indefinitely.
Spousal support on the other hand is more discretionary in that there is no “fixed” amount per month. The duration of support also is more discretionary. Case law in the area of spousal support varies. This makes predictions in terms of how much support a payer must pay much more difficult to make.
There are spousal support guidelines, (readily available on the internet) but these offer more of a benchmark than a fixed rule and also vary in terms of the suggested amount payable. When trying to determine what the appropriate amount of spousal support should be, some of the following factors are considered: the length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, available employment opportunities, the effect that the marriage had on employment opportunities, the family’s standard of living during the marriage and the need for a recipient of support to stay home to take care of young children or adults with disabilities. This is not an exhaustive list. As each case is unique it is always best to consult with a family law lawyer to try to determine what the appropriate monthly support amount is.