HOW MUCH AND HOW LONG WILL CHILD MAINTENANCE AND SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE BE?
Child maintenance is governed by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. There is a graph (available online) that sets out how much is to be paid on an income of the payor parent. If a parent has less than 40% of the parenting time, they will pay child maintenance. Even if there is equal parenting time, child maintenance can be payable. The usual method is to calculate how much each parent would have to pay if the other parent had the majority of parenting time, and then to set them off against each other. For example, if Parent 1 would have to pay $400 to the other parent per month, and Parent 2 would have to pay $300 to the other parent per month, then $400 - $300 + $100 payable by Parent 1 as a “set off”.
The reasoning of the court is that the children should not have to move from a household of riches with one parent, into a household of poverty with the other parent.
Child Maintenance is Basic Child Maintenance and that only covers shelter food and clothing. The Federal Child Support Guidelines must be followed to the letter of the law. There is no room for “agreement” between the parties. This is so much the case that divorce requests can be denied if the parties haven’t followed the Federal Child Support Guidelines in setting child maintenance amounts.
For other costs there is s.7 expenses. These usually include daycare, activity fees such as soccer or swimming, school fees, and other things. (Bus passes and cell phones are not usually considered s.7 extraordinary expenses, but the court allows great latitude to parties who want to make agreements on s.7 expenses.)
Child Maintenance lasts to the age of 19 years old or, if the child is unable to withdraw from the charge of their parents (usually due to post secondary studies or health impediments) child maintenance can go on until that inability ends (i.e., graduation from university or college). In the case of studies, the child has to account to the payor parent in the way of income, education, and resources available to the child (or child maintenance could be cut off by the courts).
With regard to Spousal Maintenance, it usually lasts as long as the relationship was. It is meant to help the spouse with the lesser income to get on their feet and so it can go on much longer. A good general rule is a relationship of a short duration will result in a nominal amount of spousal maintenance. The Federal Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines usually govern how much is payable. It is now a software program that uses ages, incomes, and parenting responsibilities to determine the amount.