Child Maintenance Law

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Child Maintenance (Child Support) is based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines. (The Guidelines) The Guidelines provide a graph for each province based on the economic factors of that province.

The graph simply tells you what someone would pay based on their gross income not take home, pay.

The receiving spouse’s income is not factored into basic child maintenance which is determined in The Guidelines based solely on the income of the paying spouse.

There is additional child maintenance payable however. Since basic maintenance only covers shelter, food and clothing of the children there are other expenses. These are called extra-ordinary or “section 7 expenses because they come from section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines. These expenses usually include school fees, fees for activities such as sports, tutors, clubs, etc., and tuition and book costs. The parties pay these fees in accordance with their incomes. So if Mary makes $10,000 per year and Jack makes $30,000 per year and there is a Judo expense of $100 per month, then since Mary makes 25% of their combined income, she will pay 25% of the expense or $25. Jack, who makes 75% of their combined income, will pay 75% of that expense of $75.

Section 7 expenses must be reasonable with respect to the incomes of the parties. For example, Mary who makes only $10,000 per year, cannot register the children for private school and present Jack with a $10,000 bill for it because the parents cannot afford to pay for private school and it isn’t a reasonable expense.

The income of Mary’s new significant other or Jack’s new significant other isn’t calculated into child maintenance and therefore isn’t usually disclosed to the other side. There are exceptions. One exception is if someone claims Hardship, then the entire economic situation of the parties becomes relevant when the court tries to decide what to do.

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