Ontario Child Support Calculator
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Child support in Ontario is always calculated using the Federal Child Support Guidelines. If you have found yourself separating from your spouse and have a child or multiple children, then there will be obligations to support the children by means of child support and/or contribution toward special and extraordinary expenses.
Whether you are separated from your spouse or not, both parents possess a responsibility to financially support their offspring. Generally, and simply speaking, child support is primarily calculated based on income of the parent(s) and the number of children involved. There are many online child support calculators to give you an estimate or idea of what your child support will be based on your income level. Of course, there are special circumstances that can be taken into account when calculating child support that are not available to individuals using the online support calculator. Typically, there is a set list of shared responsibilities and factors to cover in a basic monthly amount of child support, which may include; payments for rent or mortgage to secure the child’s housing, grocery bills, clothing expenses, toiletry expenses, school expenses, and other physical and hygiene expenses. In many cases, parents will also be required to pay for special and extraordinary expenses, such as extracurricular activities, which contribute to the best interest of the child. In these cases, the extra expenses may be necessary and reasonable, reflecting the parents spending habits prior to separating.
In Canada, there is a separate table for each province and territory; therefore, the payor parent must ensure they are referring to the appropriate guidelines, based on where they reside. It is also important to note that the Ontario Child Support Table Guidelines are used if the child or children live in Ontario, but the payor parent lives outside of Canada.
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The calculation of child support begins at discussions on where the children will be residing. The relevancy of the children’s residence will determine whose income will be used to determine how much child support is to be paid. Online child support calculators are available on some websites, which can be used as a child support estimator; however, they are not always the most accurate resource to utilize. When there is a shared custody arrangement, where the children are residing at least 40% of the time with both parents, both parents’ income are considered. When there is a primary residency arrangement, where the children are residing with a parent for more than 60% of the time, it’s the income of the non-residency parent that is inputted. It is the gross annual income before taxes and some deductions, which is used to calculate how much child support is.
A child support calculator can calculate how much child support will be paid; however, there are also table amount spreadsheets built within the Guidelines as well. Using software called DivorceMate, which directly takes the information from the Federal Child Support Guidelines, your mediator will be able to determine how much child support payments will be. This software is the most accurate child support calculator that is available in modern years.
In order to estimate what your child support may be, you can use online tools such as a child support estimator, calculator or go directly to the Federal Child Support Guidelines. There isn’t necessarily an average child support payment amount.
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There are some very common misconceptions and questions involved with child support when living in Ontario, so here are a few important pieces information to consider. A payor parent may be confused about their obligations and boundaries, when conflicts or disagreements arise with child support. It is important to note that if a parent has limited or restricted visitation with a payor parent, then they are still required to maintain regular child support payments. Child support payments and legal visitation rights are completely different legal matters when co-parenting. Regardless of the access you are provided to your child or children, you must still faithfully provide financial support. To add, child support is not tax deductible; therefore, a payor parent may not claim these payments. It is also important to note that child support looks different in every province within Canada. It is crucial to do your own research and ensure you are fulfilling the support guidelines of the province that you reside. Importantly, both parents must provide financial support to their child or children, regardless of if they were married in the past or not. Therefore, it does not matter if parents were legally married when birthing a child or children, child support is still an obligation. In addition to this, if a payor parent declares bankruptcy at any point, they may still be obligated to provide child support payments to the other parent.
Child support payments must be paid religiously to ensure the success and wellbeing of the child or children, regardless of any personal financial struggles. Although in this instant, child support amounts would be altered in the upcoming years to better suit the financial stability to the payor parent. In many Separation Agreements it is indicated that child support payments be recalculated each year to better reflect the annual income of the payor parent. Therefore, the amount being paid can increase or decrease based on the gross annual income of that specific year. To add, in drastic circumstances any parent may request to the courts that child support payments be increased, decreased, or even eliminated.
- A material change on either parent’s financial position
- A change that causes undue hardship for parent or children
- A change in the number of children entitled to receive support under the Agreement
- A change in the children’s special or extraordinary expenses
- The children’s residency
- A change in the children’s need for support
The list above does not state all reasons for a child support modification but can help provide information on some of the reasons why a change would be warranted.
How Much Child Support is Enough in Ontario?
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Child support is a topic in mediation that is very black and white. The guidelines are so specific that there is not much room for negotiations. How much child support is payable depends on the ages and number of children you have, you and your co-parents income and where the child or children are mainly residing. In determining how much child support is payable for each parent, you must annually disclose your tax returns to one another. The amount of payable child support should directly reflect your income of the previous year.
Child Support Average Payment Calculations in Ontario
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There is no average payment of child support, as child support is calculated on a multitude of factors that vary for all individuals. One might be able to calculate an average child support payment for a specific amount of children and income level, although it may still be challenging to compose an accurate calculation. The best option would be to use an online child support calculator to get an idea of how much support is payable at your specific income level.
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In Ontario, if a parent fails to maintain their child support payments, the recipient of the child support has the option to contact the Family Responsibility Office (FRO). The Family Responsibility Office was created by the government of Ontario to collect, distribute, and enforce child support payments and support orders, as well as Ontario spousal support payments. The FRO will collect all child support payments from one parent and allocate those payments to the other parent. If any payments are missed, the FRO possesses the authority to take action to ensure the consequences listed on the order or child support agreement is successfully maintained. For example, it can be listed in writing that the FRO can legally; garnish any wages, register for a lien against a property, withhold an unemployment benefit, seize any assets, withdraw money from an existing bank account, cancel or deny a passport, or even suspend a driver’s license.
Calculating Child Support Payments Including Special or Extraordinary Expenses in Ontario
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Special or extraordinary expenses can also be called ‘Section 7 Expenses’. These are expenses that are not covered under child support and paid in addition to. The table amount of child support covers things like the child’s clothes, groceries, and costs of providing shelter for the child (ex. utility bills). The contributions made by the parents towards the special or extraordinary expenses can be determined when child support is calculated.
Special or extraordinary expenses may include:
- Childcare fees, such as daycare or after school care; this support allows the parent who is responsible for the children to work or attend school
- Medical and dental insurance premiums
- Health care expenses for the children such as prescriptions, orthodontics, and counseling
- Expenses for school or extra education programs such as tutoring
- Expenses for post-secondary education
- Expenses for extracurricular activities such as soccer, hockey, and dance class
The child support calculator that is typically used by mediators and Ontario family support professionals can calculate percentages that it feels is appropriate for parents to contribute to these types of expenses. The child support calculator will determine the percentages based on the income of both parties.