author Posted by: Bob on date Aug 30th, 2012 | filed Filed under: child support

In Canada, child support is determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The amount of child support you’ll pay is dependent on your income and the number of children you are supporting. The Guidelines provide a minimum, known as the “Table Amount,” which is the automatic minimum. To determine the amount for your particular situation, you can consult the Child Support Tables, or simply input your information into Justice Canada’s Child Support Calculator, found here.

If your income is over $150,000, a judge may order you to pay more than the Table Amount in child support. This can be for a number of reasons, the most common being to keep your children in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed. Child support payments above and beyond the table amount are determined on a case-by-case basis.

Despite the fact that Child Support quantums are crystal clear in Canada, there are sadly many parents who fail to pay the required amount out of inability or animosity toward their ex-spouse. Refusing to pay is never the answer. Courts do not look kindly on it,
and your children will be the ones to suffer.

In 2011, a New York judge took an unusual approach to dealing with a “deadbeat dad” who had been delinquent with child support payments for his two daughters to the tune of $14,000.  Calling the violation “egregious,” the judge opted not to jail the father, but to put restrictions on his discretionary spending until the arrears had been fully repaid. The restricted items included cigarettes, cell phones, television, internet service, movie tickets, jewellery, magazines, and newspapers.

When it comes to supporting your children, your relationship with your ex-spouse is inconsequential. As parents, you both have a responsibility to ensure the well-being of your children, and to make the separation or divorce process as easy on them as possible. Your kids are your responsibility. Do the right thing.

For more information on separation, divorce, and other family law matters, please visit MyOntarioDivorce.com.

Sincerely,

Robert Berman B.C.L, LL.B
Founder & Family Lawyer

author Posted by: Bob on date Apr 17th, 2012 | filed Filed under: Children and Divorce, Courts, Divorce

Child support consists of monthly payments made by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent for the support, maintenance, and care of a child. Both parents have the obligation to provide financial support for their children and, once a child’s parents separate, the non-custodial parent has a duty to pay child support to the custodial parent.

The specific amount of child support to be paid is set by the Child Support Guidelines and depends on the gross income of each parent, the number of children involved, and the province in which the parents live.

Often, a child may have special or extraordinary expenses, such as childcare, medical or educational expenses, that must be paid by the child’s parents in proportion to their respective incomes. Accordingly, the non-custodial parent may be required to pay more than the amount set by the Child Support Guidelines to cover these additional expenses. The non-custodial parent is required to pay the determined child support regardless of any decisions made concerning child visitation.

Child support arrangements are monitored and enforced by the Family Responsibility Office (FRO), a governmental agency responsible for ensuring that families are given the financial support that they are entitled to receive. The FRO receives all support orders issued by Ontario courts. Once the FRO receives a divorce decree and/or support order, it contacts both the payor parent and the parent receiving the child support payments and provides them with a case number and personal identification number to use in communications regarding their support order.

Typically, support payments are made through an employer who will deduct the amount of payments from each paycheck and send the money to the FRO. The FRO then sends these payments to the custodial parent receiving child support. If there is no employer, the payor parent can send payments directly to the FRO, which will then send the payment to the recipient parent. Payments can be made to the FRO using the following methods:

  • Telebanking
  • Online banking
  • Pre-authorized payments from a bank account
  • Checks or money orders

Once the FRO receives a payment, it will be sent to the recipient parent within 48 hours. Payments can be made to recipients either by direct deposit to a bank account or by mailing a check to the parent’s address.

If the payor parent falls behind in his or her child support payments, the FRO will first attempt to come to an agreement with the parent where past due payments are paid in installments. Such an agreement is referred to as a Voluntary Arrears Payment Schedule (VAPS). Regardless of whether a VAPS has been agreed to, the FRO can collect past due payments from tax refunds due to the parent and can issue a writ of seizure and sale against the parent’s property to pay off the arrears. If the parent fails to pay off any arrears, the FRO may also take the following actions:

  • Reporting the incident to the credit bureau
  • Garnishing the payor parent’s bank accounts
  • Suspending the parent’s driver’s license
  • Suspending passports and other federal licenses, such as a pilot’s license
  • Taking the payor to court to collect on the past due payments

Typically, child support cannot be an amount less than that required by the Child Support Guidelines . However, in certain instances, the courts may permit a reduction in the amount of child support paid. Such circumstances include:

  • Undue hardship
  • When the child has reached the age of 18
  • Where there is shared custody

Undue hardship occurs when there are circumstances that cause hardship for one of the parents and that parent has a lower standard of living than the other parent. Examples of circumstances that may cause undue hardship include: unusually high costs associated with access to a child or a legal duty to support another person. When undue hardship is demonstrated by the payor parent, the court may reduce the amount of child support to an amount that is reasonable based upon the discretion of the court.

If the child support agreement, or court order, was entered into prior to May 1, 1997, the payor parent can deduct child support payments on his or her income taxes and the parent receiving the child support must claim the payments as income on his or her income taxes. If the child support agreement, or court order, was entered into after May 1, 1997, the child support payments are not deductible for the payor parent and the recipient parent is not required to pay taxes on the payments.

Under the Child Support Guidelines, there is no set termination date for child support. Normally, child support is paid as long as the children are enrolled in school on a full-time basis. This includes primary school, college and post-secondary education. Once a child reaches the age of 18, however, the child’s income may be examined to determine whether the amount of child support should be altered.

For more information on child support, and other family law matters, please visit MyOntarioDivorce.com or BermanBarristers.com.

Sincerely,

Robert Berman B.C.L, LL.B
Founder & Family Law Lawyer

author Posted by: Bob on date Mar 15th, 2011 | filed Filed under: Tips

Court Reporter: Types everything said during the court hearing. As with the Court Recording Monitor, a written record of the hearing is prepared and may be requested for a fee.

Family Relations Counsellor: Mediates disagreements in divorce cases. At the request of the judge, a family relations counselor may evaluate a family situation by interviewing each parent and the children in the family and writing a report for the judge, making recommendations about custody and visitation.

Judge: Hears and decides cases for the courts.

Law Librarian: Maintains legal reference and research materials for public use.

Support Enforcement Officer: Services child support payments and brings parents to court to enforce child support orders. May also file legal papers to modify or change child support orders.

Robert Berman B.C.L, LL.B
Founder & Family Law Lawyer