Child Support

Under Ontario family law, a child has the right to financial support from both parents, regardless of the nature of the parents’ relationship. If you are no longer in a relationship with your child’s mother or father, you may still have an obligation to pay child support.

What determines child support in Ontario?

Child support payments in Ontario are primarily determined by three key factors: the gross income of the parent obligated to pay (before taxes and deductions), the number of children involved, and the Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines provide a structured framework and tables to accurately calculate the financial contribution the paying parent should provide, ensuring the child’s needs are adequately met.

Federal Child Support Guidelines

The federal Child Support Guidelines provide a starting point for determining how much child support is paid. The base amount to be paid is determined by the paying parent’s income as well as the number of children to be supported. This amount is intended to help pay for the child’s basic day-to-day necessities, such as food, clothing, and shelter. The Guidelines take into account that the person with whom the child primarily resides will have to incur daily living expenses. Therefore, the parent who does not have the child living with him or her most of the time will generally be the parent paying support to help defray these costs.

What if both parents have the child for an equal amount of time? In these situations, the Guideline amount of support is calculated for each parent, and the parent who earns more money would pay the difference in these two amounts to the other parent. The rationale behind this is to maintain a somewhat equal standard of living for the child in both homes.

In addition to the base amount of child support that is paid on a monthly basis, there are many other expenses that will arise as a child develops and grows. These include things like extra-curricular activities, braces, medical expenses, daycare, tutoring, and post-secondary education, among others. The general rule is that these expenses are shared between the parents in proportion to their incomes. However, parents may decide on any arrangement that they consider equitable.

If you need assistance determining whether you should be receiving child support for your child or collecting your support from the other parent, or if you believe that you should no longer be paying child support, we are here to help. Our goal is always to resolve your family law issue in a cooperative and informal manner. However, where informal negotiations do not work, our lawyers will employ their litigation experience to advance your interests through the court process.

How to stop child support in Ontario?

Halting child support payments in Ontario requires agreement from the recipient or a court order. If the recipient agrees in writing to terminate child support, the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) will instruct the payor to cease payments. If an agreement cannot be reached, the payor needs to seek a court’s intervention to pursue the termination of child support.

At Russell Alexander Family Lawyers, we have provided advice to countless parents regarding their rights and obligations surrounding child support. Therefore, we can help you answer questions such as:

  • Who pays child support and why?
  • My ex earns a large income and can afford to pay for the child’s needs; why should I pay her or him anything?
  • How much support will I have to pay, and for how long?
  • I’ve been paying support for my child for the past 10 years; when can I stop?
  • The mother/father of my child was supposed to be paying child support to me since last year, and they haven’t paid anything. What can I do?
  • I was never in a relationship with the baby’s mother and made it clear that I didn’t want the baby. Am I exempt from paying child support?

At Russell Alexander Family Lawyers, we help our clients address these and other difficult child support questions by:

  • Determining your goals regarding child support, and advising you of the appropriate child support amount for your child or children
  • Regularly corresponding with you to obtain updates and provide you with the status of your case
  • Negotiating on your behalf with the other party or his or her lawyer
  • Where negotiations fail, completing your court documents on your behalf and meeting with you to review them
  • Filing your application in court and representing you at every stage of the court process
  • Helping you enforce your former spouse’s child support obligation